Out of Use – Works by György Bp. Szabó | Going to Extremes – New Works by Márta Czene | Aristocrats’ Garments from the Esterházy Treasury | Taiwan Calling – An Island Without Borders – A Group Exhibition | Taiwan Calling – The Phantom of Liberty – A Group Exhibition | Tin City Photo Project – A Show by László Csáki and Árpád Horváth
Judit Gellér: Out of Use – Works by György Bp. Szabó
György Bp. Szabó lends new meanings to the objets trouvés retrieved from rubbish bins. It is fuzzy nets made out of CDs and plastic figurines, circuits and bottle tops, pearls and pebbles, pieces of wire and thread that have made up the object collages he has collected, built, glued and applied together over the last 15 years.
True, in every household of the world we find that objects, particularly small ones, tend to escape being disposed of once they have lost their respective functions because their owners, for sentimental, nostalgic reasons of their own, cannot bring themselves to throw them away. They are then preserved in boxes holding medleys of bric a bac, their more unfortunate counterparts, however, end up in so many rubbish bins – this is the stuff that György Bp. Szabó holds in great esteem even though their previous owners had judged them worthless.
Some of his objects, e.g. broken glass, deformed bottle tops, unusable cogwheels or circuits are truly rubbish, but some others have merely lost their function or been abandoned by children at play. Once set in a new context, objects tend to tell new stories. Plastic figurines, single footballers of a table-set, astronauts and soldiers are given a surreal environment by mixing with heaps of CDs and DVDs bearing banana stickers, tassels, and flower ornaments. The deep-sea diver with an elephant’s head mixes with a plastic gesha with inscriptions in French, the soldier in a fatigue dress turns amicably to a Teddy bear, while a figurine of a car mechanic offers directions with golf-tees in his hand, and an astronaut uses a suction cup to receive messages from plastic stars and planets.
Bp. Szabó’s object collages contain such constant motifs as ID photographs, airplanes, lambs, elephant’s heads. His circular collages remind one of mandalas executed in India with minute workmanship. Some of his miniature applications are presented in plastic bags sealed off with clinical care – covering a great distance from the cultural rubbish they originate from. Larger objects like workshop waste, rusty wires, nuts and bolts, spent lightbulbs etc. are presented in sturdy, walnut-stained wooden frameworks for more archaic effect.
Works by Bp. Szabó can be approached from a great number of disciplines including cultural anthropology, history of art, philosophy of art etc. since they call upon the spectator to come closer and take a more thorough look at their sheer complexity. The stuff they are made of comes from the streets of Budapest or L.A., being out of use objects abandoned by Europeans or Americans. At the end of the day, they prompt us all to resist rather than obey the maternal advice not to pick up anything from the ground. We begin to learn that some rubbish is no rubbish at all.
Budapest Gallery – Budapest Exhibition Hall
2 December – 9 January, 2011.
Erika Baglyas: Going to Extremes – New Works by Márta Czene
Márta Czene is a professional painter at 28, just three years after graduating from the painters’ department of the Hungarian Academy of Art. Careers like hers are usually called steady to say the least. After studying classical painting, history of art, and intermedia she has received several grants in foreign countries, done both one-man and group exhibitions betraying of serious and persistent work. She now presents a show with Inda Gallery entitled Focus.
Austrian psychotherapist E. T. Gendlin maintains that irrespective of the many trends used in today’s psychotherapy, the key to his/her recovery is in the patient’s own hands. The key word being lived experience. The focus therapy initiated by Gendlin works with images tied to emotions rather than the classical conversing method. Those images reside in the patient’s own memory, and are difficult to evoke. Through her knowledge of pictorial communication, Márta Czene commissions her new, rather painful paintings to do some remedial remembering in order to reach absolution.
In interpreting her paintings we can lean on one of her videos entitled Homage (2009) in which she uses an extremely slow camera in revealing her burdensome heritage, the legacy of her father, also a painter, Béla Czene (1911-1999). We can see a studio apartment replete with objects hoarded up by her father over an entire life, but without any sign of life. In another of her videos entitled Transition (2010) she records environments close to a frontier replete with uninhabited houses and other signs of destruction. She draws in Time as a significant player, too, while the Space in which one can (or cannot) live and reminisce is quite as significant.
Her paintings, which were partitioned even before her graduation, contain several separate pictures within a single surface. Earlier she coupled paintings with paintings, but recently she has been coupling paintings with photographs. Her film-like use of paint becomes authentic not just through her video works but also through a twelve-frame paraphrase she gives of Roman Polanski’s film Fright.
The painted picture is usually a vision of an image preserved in her own memory while the photograph printed on her canvas usually complements that vision in a conscious way. It is the enigmatic character of the process of complementing itself that supplies a peculiar dissonance to her work. Although each pair of imagery adds up to a different story, the juxtaposition of the parts itself works for a general, elementary unease to emerge which is perhaps not very frightful, but is certainly a tension of a silent, suffocating sort. The constraint to keep secrets coupled with the wish to reveal those secrets present a condensed, enigmatic world to the viewers, a world in which they, too, must wrestle with their own memories while marvelling at the straightforward way in which the painter proceeds in revealing her past and her self to the viewers.
While extremely straightforward, Czene’s pictures are also somewhat sterile in the sense that her buildings offer little evidence of human habitation. When we do see human protagonists, e.g. a little girl joyously jumping on a sofa, next to her we see a close-up of a silk ribbon suffocatingly tight on a woman’s neck shredding all the illusions of childhood; a pregnant nude in a crouching position is complemented by withering but sprouting beets; parts of human faces, by scenes of empty staircases or windows with their curtains drawn in. All her paintings provide signs of life in exquisite detail but we must also partake of a deep sense of absence – with all its irretractable consequences.
16 December – 21 January, 2011.
Aristocrats’ Garments from the Esterházy Treasury
20 December – 4 September, 2011.
Arts and Crafts Museum
The richest treasury of the Hungarian aristocracy contains some 300 Hungarian, Western-European, and Oriental masterful fine textiles, male and female garments, draperies, tablecloths, eiderdowns, bedcovers, European and Turkish harnesses, saddles, blankets, and quivers. An absolute rarity is the 21-piece Hungarian garment collection which has no match in Central Europe. The Arts and Crafts Museum now presents the highly significant textile collection to the general public for the first time in its entirety.
Taiwan Calling – An Island Without Borders – A Group Exhibition
16 December – 1 March, 2011.
Ludwig Museum – Contemporary Arts Museum
The fruit of an unprecedented co-operation of Ludwig Museum and Műcsarnok, a simultaneous twin-exhibition documents the versatility and freshness of Taiwanese arts through more than 200 works by 25 Taiwanese artists.
The show entitled An Island Without Borders presents artists’ reflections upon social, historical, ethnic, political, and cultural issues through the works of several generations of artists born after WWII. Over the last few decades Taiwan has undergone quick political and cultural changes resulting in a critique and re-definition of Taiwanese identity. From a cultural identity originally dictated by Mainland China, there is nowadays a definite intention to build up a peculiarly local identity by seeking new ways of artistic expression particularly in genres like video and installation.
Taiwan Calling – The Phantom of Liberty – A Group Exhibition
16 December – 13 February, 2011.
This show focuses on highly interesting, sensitive, and spectacular works seeking to express social criticism as well as self-definition that have palpably marked recent Taiwanese contemporary arts. Some artists lean heavily on Oriental philosophy and tradition. Some others, however, treat past culture or present-day Taiwanese society as a point of reference only. CHEN Kai Huang’s witty computer animation e.g. fantasises about what the world’s map would look like if Taiwan would be located elsewhere and, even more importantly, if it would be much larger than it is today.
Tin City Photo Project – A Show by László Csáki and Árpád Horváth
15 December – 15 January, 2011.
László Csáki (1977) and Árpád Horváth (1976) have worked together for years creating many short films, spots, and video clips shown at domestic and international film festivals and concerts.
While shooting their documentary film entitled Tin City they decided to document the cellars in the Avas Hill of Miskolc also by a series of photographs including portraits as well as interiors. In their book in progress they want to include interviews cut out of the film, drawings, maps, and parts of personal diaries, too. At the 41st Hungarian Film Show their Tin City had won a shared Judit Ember First Prize in the Documentary Film category.