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Australian art

Contemporary art

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Ildiko Kovacs

1962 -


Ildiko Kovacs has been exhibiting since the 1980s and is one of Australia's finest abstractionists, known for her nuanced explorations of line, colour and rhythm. Kovacs' painting process is largely instinctive. When beginning a work she describes trying "to enter a space where preconceptions fall away", relying on "intuition to bring the unseen into the seen". Unusually, Kovacs uses rollers to apply layers of paint over large surfaces, which she builds up and scrapes back over time. The residual traces of these different strata determine how the painting evolves, and create a subtle sense of movement and depth within her compositions.

In Italian the word 'onda' means wave. Kovacs' studio is close to the ocean and the constant sound of the waves inspired both the colour palette and fluid mark making in this work: the blues and greens strongly evoke marine associations, while the loose tangle of lines channels the energy of tidal ebbs and flows.




Media category


Materials used

oil on plywood


180.0 x 365.0 cm board

Signature & date

Signed and dated u.r. verso, black fibre-tipped pen "ILDIKO KOVACS/ .../ .../ 2015".


Art Gallery of New South Wales, Bulgari Art Award 2015


Not on display

Accession number


Artist information

Ildiko Kovacs

Works in the collection


Shown in 1 exhibition

Exhibition history

Referenced in 13 publications


Robin Amadio, Wentworth Courier, 'Surprise guests for artist's dinner', pg. 27, Sydney, 29 Apr 2015, 27.

Nicholas Forrest.,, 'Ildiko Kovacs wins the 2015 Bulgari Art Award', Australia, 23 Apr 2015, n.pag. (colour illus., detail). viewed 11.05.2015,

Andrew Hornery, Sydney Morning Herald, 'Little drizzle' not enough to dampen things', pg. 20, Sydney, 25 Apr 2015, 20.

Julie Power, Sydney Morning Herald, 'Bulgari Art Award winner rides a wave to Italy', pg. 13, Sydney, 24 Apr 2015, 13 (colour illus., detail).

Julie Power.,, 'Bulagri Art Award 2015 winner Ildiko Kovacs is riding a wave to Italy', Sydney, 23 Apr 2015, n.pag. (colour illus.). viewed 11.05.2015,

Karishma Sarkari.,, 'Colour blocking Cate! Blanchett's silk skirt-and-top ensemble matches Bulgari Art Award's winning painting at gallery', Australia, 24 Apr 2015, n.pag. (colour illus., detail). viewed 11.05.2015,

John Saxby (Editor), Look, 'Bulgari Art Award 2015', pg. 8, Sydney, Jun 2015, 8 (colour illus., detail).

John Saxby (Editor), Look, 'Art that made me: Ildiko Kovacs', pg. 14-15, Sydney, Apr 2016, 14.

Deborah Stone (Editor),, 'Kudos: a week bustling with talent and accolades', Australia, 20 Apr 2015, n.pag. (colour illus., detail). viewed 11.05.2015,

Michael Stutchbury (Editor in Chief), Australian Financial Review, 'Picture of success', pg. 9, Sydney, 24 Apr 2015, 9 (colour illus., detail).

Sophie Tedmanson.,, 'Ildiko Kovacs on her Bulgari Art Award win and painting without a plan', Sydney, 23 Apr 2015, n.pag. (colour illus.). viewed 11.05.2015,,36718

Katherine Viner (Editor in Chief),, 'Australian artist Ildiko Kovacs wins $80,000 Bulgari art award', Sydney, 23 Apr 2015, n.pag. (colour illus.). viewed 11.05.2015,

Matthew Westwood, The Australian, 'Ildiko's riding crest of a wave, and it's sublime', pg. 3, Sydney, 24 Apr 2015, 3 (colour illus., detail).