Art Colony 2015
Cered, this border village in Nógrád county with a rapidly declining population, has no Special features, yet it bears all the characteristics of the “Hungarian countryside”. And that’s exactly why the art colony, which started out as a personal initiative in 1996 and has since achieved international renown with strong ties to neighbouring Slovakia has been focusing on the local community, customs and of course contemporary Cered.
One of the key Elements is the active co-operation with local residents. Not only in the sense that the artists record the fast-disappearing traditional peasant culture of the last century, or that they are inspired by the everyday life of the village – which seems exotic for Western European artists – but also in the sense that the art colony has already become an integral part of the micro-society in the summer months. The international art colony, which is gaining more importance in the international and the domestic art scene alike, is based on active cooperation between the visiting artists and the inhabitants of the village. Tomasz Piars’s project entitled Chromatic Relations was made in this sense. The portraits of children of various nationalities and skin colors were printed in black and white and then local children held These prints in front of their faces, then these photos were stuck on large wall-like strips of paper and were set up in a cornfield on the Hungarian-Slovakian border. The black and white photographs – deliberately without an explicit political message – exhibit contemporary geopolitical and social problems, and the need for personal responsibility and empathy. The 20 year-old Cered art colony traditionally focuses on people from Cered and local socio-cultural phenomena. This year, the starting point for the artists was the number of inhabitants: 1215. This is reflected also in the work of Magda Grzybowska and Marek Sienkiewicz entitled Cards, with numbers written on white tiles (1215–2015). The numbers change in an ephemeral action, and each change is accompanied by the ringing of a bell, a clear reference to the declining population of the village. In Stefan Kreiger’s “Zeichenmappe” people from Cered appear in a new worldview dominated by politics and consumption. Lilla von Puttkamer painted a mural on the outer surface of the studio wall a big amount of faded / vanishing identical looking people, among whom appear the figure of village women, timeless, faceless, yet characteristic. In the field of photography Ágota Krnács shows double and multiple portraits of the inhabitants of Cered she has become friends with since she settled in the village.
As usual in the genre of social documentary photography, she took photos of residents in their own homes in typical settings according to this year’s theme “numbered”. Rosa Verhoeve from Amsterdam spent the time in the house of the mayor, recording in her photographs the coexistence of four generations. While Christoph Eckelt photographed the people of Cered in front of a white backdrop in the street. Jozef Suchoža combines film and sound (similar to the figures of Balázs Kicsiny) with the faceless and bodiless red children’s raincoat figure, fluttering in the soft breeze. On walls facing each other the slow-motion found footage of a scene from the Quatsi trilogy and a music video from the 90s come into interaction. This installation set up in one of the communal spaces of the village is bound together by the pealing music created by the artist, giving a sinister interpretation of the times to come. Space, sound and human condition are seen by Suchoža as inseparable and he continues to look at contemporary problems and the internal crises of people through archetypes and myths (see his “Personal Moses” made in Cered in 2013 and further developed in the synagogue in Kosice (Kassa) in 2014 or his interactive installations shown in the Missing Generation project). This bipolarity, this spirituality is manifest in the double video projection as well: the opposition of white women depicted as sexual objects to the sun-tanned bodies performing physical labour is upset by the red-raincoated figure and the self-composed drone of music. By combining the video, the object, the sound and space the artist achieves the impersonalization of the place, making the figure hollow. Quotation, interpretation, the line between existence and non-existence, space as the space of collective memory are all elements of the critique of gender, colonization and capitalism in Jozef Suchoža’s work. A variety of projects have been realized at different locations in the village: in the cemetery, in an abandoned laundry room, in a ditch: the caricatural drawings on gravestones by Orsi Szemethy showing the absurdity of death or the Land Art work of Albrecht Fresch on the concrete wall of the ditch running along the village. Male and female figures of mud and grass were sculpted and daubed on the walls of the ditch, ephemeral figures which cannot withstand the weather conditions and reflect the naivety of cave paintings or the Venus of Willendorf.
The main themes of Ivana Savikova´s wax prints are of sacred nature. They show self-portraits with communion wafers in her mouth; she used wax plates she had found in deserted houses. Eszter Palik experimented in an abandoned laundry with camera obscura: the image of a road from Cered appears opposite on the suspended canvases. György Szaszák has made a film with a drone and placed a sound installation on a walnut tree on the art colony’s premises. He recorded various sounds like the bell and the voices of residents, which could then be heard (distorted) through loudspeakers at various points around the tree. Similarly, the active participation of the audience is also required for the outdoor statues of Ute Deutz and Vladimir Kovarik. In László Sánta and Cecília Kun’s work, the people and landscapes of Cered appear in a very personal and intimate way. This personal perspective characterizes Csaba Fürjesi’s worksentitled Relatives from Cered. The main decorative elements in the background of his paintings are the very typical patterned paint roller painted walls; in which paintings the painter depicted personal acquaintances, local people or artists from the Art Colony: Continuity and separation of generations, people and the time appear simultaneously in his pictures.
Multiple perspectives, the coexistence of different traditions, the variety of media used in this project– these are the things that make these works of art so punchy and refreshing.
This post is also available in: Hungarian