Above the creation of artworks, this is also a starting point for a unique, international project. The focus is on the rehabilitation of a 100 years old clay house, together with the inhabitants of Cered, to create a separated space with its own function.
The mission of the emerging “community house” is the presentation and documentation of the living “Palóc” community, through a broad involvement of contemporary art. In this context, we ask the invited artists of the colony to develop plans and proposals.
The participating artists work together with the inhabitants on this topic. This creates the opportunity for the skilled artisans and responsible citizens living in the community to realize their creativity, to build active working relationships with the foreign artists and artists’ teams, and through this creative process to experience the supporting power of the community.
In addition to the workshop, we also expect individual works of art, which are created by the inspiration of this old, ruined house and its “separate space”. This theme also relates to the situation of the isolated community as well as to the phenomenon of arbitrarily separated rooms and sites that can arise through human activities. On the basis of this, other separate areas can be of interest to the artists.
The function (if any), the duration, the origin of a causal connection. What is the ideology or actuality of these individual rooms in 2017? Where and how do these spaces appear, both in the intimate (family) and public areas? Can other communities, other countries, be associated with this phenomenon?
Art Colony 2016
Today existing – contemporary, yet derived from the roots of the place – signs of life of Cered, its motifs and symbols. Their special appearances, and the places where they occur.
The goal of the Art Colony is to create and visualize a motif of Cered. The theme of the artist is derived from the existing characters and signs from Cered. They should create an overall symbol or a series of motifs, represented through their personal perspective. Furthermore, it is an object to obtain answers to the questions of whether it is possible to establish a new visual decorative element in the 21st century. How can it get a part of the everyday life? Are there new locations for these new motifs – and if so, where? We hope to get new ideas and suggestions from the artists on these issues.
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.
Art Colony 2014
Cered. To be honest I had to look it up on the map to see where it was. A small village on the Slovakian border, few kilometres from Salgótarján. I got on the bus, like a real tourist and set off into the unknown. At the bus station my host, Csaba Fürjesi was waiting for me. We got in the car, and drove on a peaceful, gentle sloping mountain road, until we finally reached our destination. A small village indeed. Quiet, neat, with only three streets, tops, and at the end, an inconspicuous border sign. The people passing by us, mostly elderly people greeted us politely, as it is customary, and knew immediately that you are a guest of the art colony, but to be sure they immediately put the question to me: “You have come to the colony, the art colony, haven’t you?”
For my goal was, in addition to accepting a cordial invitation, to gain insight into the work of an art colony which had been operating for twenty years..
Located in the middle of the village, under huge shady trees, on the banks of a small stream, the international artists are hosted on three spacious, adjacent plots of the Cered Art Colony. The heart of the Colony is the central building, Cili Kun’s kingdom. In 1996 she gave birth to the idea with her husband László Sánta, a visual artist, and with the young, agile, fellow visual artists Csaba Fürjesi and they dreamed up this idyllic community here. They had this idea, transformed it into reality, and have been operating the colony with heroic and often arduous work since then. In 1999 – What a great number! – it was already able to host artists from six countries. And since 2006 the artists are required to develop a specific theme. Cered itself has been in the focus. And the themes are inexhaustible, the themes speak for themselves: the linen, the wood, the parlour, the bear legend, unused objects, of course, everything is connected to the village and each of it lends itself to a variety of observations.
This year’s theme is the Missing generation. What a marvellous idea! The artists have to walk along the village streets and explore and get acquainted with the people, looking at them through a sociologist’s eyes. Who are they? How many are they? Who is missing and especially why? How Hungarians and Romas live together? And how do they live in the first place? What do they do? Once the artists have collected the necessary information, you need to translate the language of fine arts, and create works of art. What an exciting challenge!
Csaba Fürjesi, the art director of the plein air, has depicted the families of the village, immortalizing them on large surfaces, in their parlour (or tiszta szoba in Hungarian, which translates to clean room) in front of the roll painted wallpaper, still, in static immobility. The young people looking at us from the pictures belong to the missing generation. The Polish artist Katarzyna Karpowicz has lined up domestic faces in an icon-like way, and thereby gives them a sacred meaning. The German Ute Deutz has walked up and down the village, and recorded every house that was for sale. She has made an exact copy of the houses and made a maquette of them. The realization is heartbreaking. The work interprets the phenomenon lyrically, and the inherent Tension gives the artwork its monumentality.
Eszter Palik, one of the many Hungarian participants who I believe deserves special mention, Chose the abandoned and dilapidated chicken coop near the village as the place to host her artwork. The mystically illuminated egg embryos symbolize the miracle of creation, the incomprehensibility of birth, and the transience in us. The installation of the artist Suchoza Jozef (Slovakia), who returns to the art colony almost every year, is remarkable not only because of its size but also because of the complexity of the design. He lives in the studio of the art colony with its translucent figures. The floating or hanged (?) hooded mass, illuminated here and there with light, touches the audience at first with its theatricality. But once you get through that it raises other questions. Who are they? They are nameless figures. They exist and do not exist at the same time. We want to look at them, but they are faceless beings. They are empty, but by our movements they also start to move. Are they scary, or not? Are they beautiful? Maybe they are not even humans. Or are they? Are they here to take us away? I do not know. The absence is so thick you can almost touch it.
So this is Cered. A peaceful village in Nógrád with 1116 inhabitants, with an art colony, where in the past 19 years a serious „exploration work” has been taking place. I am pleased that I had the chance to gain insight into it.
Art Colony 2013
We are already accustomed to the fact that the annual Cered Art Colony project that takes place every summer and revolves around a site-specific and unique theme totally engross us by its inventiveness and varied content. The Art Colony held for the eighteenth time in 2013, following the tradition established by its predecessors in its theme (Linen from Cered, the Ben-room, Prototypeetc.) and chose the subject again from the secluded, tiny village in Nógrád county. The name of the theme: Garden can be misleading at first, because it is very quickly associated with the herb garden, or the vegetable allotment by the house. Perhaps you think of the front garden of modest but well-kept cube-shaped houses with simple but colourful country flowers such as aster, mallows, daffodils, garden sage blooming. Their lingering scent stuns visitors meandering on the streets of thevillage already amazed by the picturesque scenery.
The myth of the Garden has been holding Europeans captive for ages. It has always had very strong metaphorical content. Let us think to the hanging gardens of Semiramis, the wonder of which has been inimitable for thousands of years, or to the medieval hortus conclusus, the Christian garden of Eden, or on the triptych “Garden of Earthly Delights” by Hieronymus Bosch. The art of gardens is divided into eras in order to clarify their enormous importance in European culture. Starting from the end of the Middle Ages they had stylistic periods, similar to the history of art. The simple, chronological list shows the historical order. The medieval stately wildlife parks were followed by the Italian Renaissance and Mannerist gardens, which were replaced by the French and then the English Garden styles, which then gave way to the Far Eastern influences, first the Japanese then the Chinese gardens.
In addition to being pleasing to the eye, providing a place where one can relax and lay back in the philosophical sense the magic of the garden is in its transience. The fact that the garden is located between culture and nature, thus a man walking in a garden – unlike the observer of a painting, who remains excluded – is part of it and experiences it from inside. As Herman Parett put it so succinctly: “… the paradox of the garden is objective: the garden shows on the one hand the perfection of nature, on the other hand the absolute power of man over nature” These ideas were further spun by the participants of the Art Colony of Cered. They were given the various formations of the existing gardens (orchard, flower garden, herb garden, front garden, etc.) as a starting point and were able to exercise the power of transubstantiation of art.
As set out in the task, although gardens always have physical limits, as they are fenced in areas, the artistic reflections in Cered had no set limits. It is no accident that the word “vision” appears in the motto of this year’s Art Colony, and the participants also reflected freely on this year’s theme: Garden. Of course what they did was not reshaping the allotment gardens of the villagers which had been made so human over long years of toil. It was only the starting point, a source of inspiration for almost all artists. The artists who came from different countries – and hence had very different concepts about gardens – approached the theme in a variety of ways. The photographs of Branimir Ritonja show local farmers performing their daily routines in their allotment gardens. In the rural setting – reminiscent of classic paintings – the photos of the farmers’ wives posing in their plastic aprons, or the farmer in boxer shorts are both humorous and somewhat ironic.
Christoph Eckelt’s nostalgic photos suggesting seclusion ponder over the poetic relationship of the lone figure in deep contemplation and the landscape, taking very seriously the above-mentioned theme: vision. The art-director of the Colony Csaba Fürjesi’s ironic tondo called Fragrant gardens shows a smoking, chugging truck polluting the environment, whose aggressive existence disturbs the idyllic solitude of the man in the foreground. The other image of Fürjesi pays homage in many ways to the tradition of painting. Again, he has used the form of tondo as in the Florentine Renaissance and in such a way as to paraphrase Manet’s The Luncheon on the Grass. In the picture you can see in the background a beat up Barkas minivan and the soft curves of the Cered hills and in the foreground there are naked men, while next to them some clothed ladies are chatting.Cered has inspired the participants, many have experimented with new art forms. The Land-art installation of Fürjesi called Santa Clara shows a fruit tree from the garden of the Art Colony surrounded by 12 artificial molehills, the number having a sacred meaning, as if the tree would be protected by the magic circle like a magical necklace.
Ivana Sláviková created embroidered Easter eggs. The stunningly original works of art are taken back to their place of origin the chicken coop, and this replacement of the eggs carries conceptual content with its unusual context. (How to teach chickens about Art-Series) Ágota Krnács in her Artwork Between the Earth and the Heavens Only the World is Round analyses the relationship between finite and infinite space and the Man appearing in it. The figures of children playing, lying and stretching nylon foil on the fields on the gentle slopes of hills and under the sky representing the infinite, as well as the carefully chosen horizon gives both poetic and philosophical content to the series.
The installation entitled More Female Garden Gnomes by Kun Cecília with its humorous imperative gives the viewer a wide interpretation. The coloured apricot tree sap installation with the application of coloured yarn into the grooves of the bark of the tree creates strongly expressive picturesque surfaces. Metka Kavcic turns lifeless, withered trees into works of art, making them an entity by adding wire and glass, as if the resulting worksof art were a symbol of the rebirth of nature. The organically shaped skein lends a new meaning to the otherwise useless fruit tree, making it possible for it to live on. The artwork of Nina Mankin from the UK called Portable Memory Cupboard, which can be interpreted as the counterpart of the cabinet painting presenting the baronial collections of baroque art, represents a bygone world as a nostalgic monument. The glass case is set in front of the backdrop of a mysterious forest, displaying everyday objects, which thus appear as if in a museum showcase, turning the bric-a-brac objects of fetish. She made her second piece Public Memory Preserves with preservation and conservation in mind.
Eszter Palik’s video installation Through the Mirror… show the outside world in the oval mirror over the dinner table in a dark room. She is interested in both the contradictions of reality and virtuality and the inner and outer worlds. The camera is recording in the middle of a cornfield, like as if it were an impenetrable jungle or plant maze turning round and round. We feel as if we have been lost, do not see the way out of the thicket, which is further enhanced by the blurred vision due to the mirror. László Sánta repainted the garden draw well completely lifting it out of its original functionality. The resulting colourful object of the garden gets a new role, it becomes an ornament of the garden with its magical function. This playful, transforming spirit is even more apparent in Sánta’s other work. With a little paint he transformed a small pebble of the garden path into a skip stone. So the piece of pavement – like the ugly duckling in the story – is transformed into a symbol, ist flamboyant colours harkening back to mosaics of the Byzantine Empire. The draw well, the centre of the garden, a humanized environment, symbolizes the connection between heaven and earth and the abundance of water, and is synonymous with life. The well has also inspired Bruno van den Eshoo from the Netherlands. In his photo series he shows sociologically inspired images with conceptual overtones of the inhabitants of Cered, standing next to their own well. The series depicts the inhabitants – the mayor, a minor, a housewife, a pensioner, an unemployed person, a nurse, a driver, a farmer, a salesman, a geography teacher, etc. – with a bucket in their hands, in everyday garb. The photos show that although the life is constantly changing and some archaic forms are constantly decaying, and are about to go extinct, the well house – the umbilical cord of the garden – retains its traditional form.
An example of the diverse cultural reminiscence is the performance of Jozef Suchoza entitled Yggdrasil, for which he drew inspiration from Germanic and Scandinavian mythology.. The ash tree with its healing power, whose crown soars into the sky and its roots extend deep into the underworld, offers plenty of inspiration for the contemporary interpretation. Orsi Szemethy chose the cemetery as a setting for her installations. The anthropomorphic wooden statues which are given a new meaning by the paint that remind one of skeletons. The brittle wooden figures on the quadrangular tombs perplex us and recall the still life of Baroque vanitas-motifs.
The colourful ink pictures of Imre Szemethy on which decorative leaves and flowers are applied in a frieze like manner, and remind us of the Xenia still life of ancient mosaic floors. We are witnessing a metamorphosis: the leaves detached from the stems on pure white paper come to life as moving, breathing beings.
The 18-year-old Art Colony, which has now entered adulthood, provides year after year that exchange is possible between different cultures, and that they can be continued. Nevertheless a society sealed and bound in solid traditions gives the artists coming from many countries with free and open spirits endless inspiration and possibilities to create new values. In this sense it is a synthesis of the arts, since in addition to fine arts and programs other contemporary art movements appear at the closing event such as theatre, music, dance, and film. These productions do not only reflect on each other very inspiringly but also fit in well with the community of this tiny village. So the villagers also identify with the values of the art colony, take pride in the works of art created there, and often provide not only the place or the models for the artists, but in a certain sense take part in the creative process.
Art Colony 2012
The exhibitions of the Art Colony of Cered have become integral part of Dornyay Béla Museum in Salgótarján. Visitors of these exhibitions already know that the participants of the art colony always offer a special, unique experience. We have already witnessed the complex creative process, from traditional graphic and pictorial methods to the reinterpretation of ”lost & found” objects, and to objet d’art, from land art to on-site, happening-like large-scale public art, to the discovery of the beauty hidden in the details.
The exhibition of last year opened new vistas and gave a new artistic program to participating artists, which will last for years to come. The presentation of the theme “Clean Room” illustrates a new vision of the traditions of Cered, mostly by using photography.
The participating artists have been aspiring to create a strong bond with the residents of the village since the outset of the art colony, the art colony provides regular opportunities for the artists to become acquainted with the work, daily routine and festivities of villagers and vice versa. The art colony has by now become an important part of Cered, inhabitants and artists together have formed a tightly-knit community by living together for a few weeks and by giving the participating artists insights into the daily life, customs and traditions of the inhabitants. In connection to this, this year a film was produced by the artists who made up a bear legend not having any historical basis, but which fitted, and could have indeed been part of the village folklore.
This year’s exhibition presents the works of art that have emerged during the symposium from August 1 to 7 in Cered. Like in the case of previous exhibitions, this year’s theme for the works of art consisted of the traditions, artifacts and spiritual treasures of the village. Even the posters of the exhibition illustrate how a very isolated community, which nonetheless is very rich in traditions, receives and interacts with contemporary artists from around the world.
Everyday objects, decorative objects and pieces of furniture, most of which had no longer been used or had already become inoperative were reused as basis for the artworks. They were then transformed into works of art, given a new meaning; they were brought to life again. The objects and memories also belong to the landscape, the natural environment. And the dry leaves hanging on threads weaved to form a long net serve not only as three dimensional decoration, but they come alive with every gust of wind, and begin to dance, making sounds, they rustle and make the forest a sacred place. The parts of the scenery suggesting the perpetuality of life give off an air of calm and convey the force of nature as well making the viewer ponder about the infinite.
Everyday items such as a tablecloth, a blue chair may also have magical, supernatural, even metaphysical effects, just like cross headstone covered with purple cloth emanating infinite tranquility . The memories of everyday life – the classic, colorized photo of a married couple, a glass of red wine; the warm tones show the togetherness of a couple, the contemplative warmth of their house, the lasting peaceful card game played in the evenings. This contemplative mood is enhanced by the intimate lighting, the tiny, fragile dry bouquet. This is transformed into a memento by the cards arranged in a way that they form a cross. This may be one possible interpretation of the work; however, if we dig into the story behind it; we learn that the man in the photo was a card cheat, his Memento is the deck of cards forming a cross. The cards swept under the carpet indicate the society that turns a blind eye, and does not want to know. Many other works of art can also be described as puzzles and the manifestation of free association, like the photos, or parts of photos put in a new context, or the dreamy almost otherworldly portrait of a woman printed on a linen on the loom. The woven cloth frill guides the viewer through the route between birth and death, the ever prevalent threat – in the form of a hatchet – is hiding behind.
In addition to the lyrical sense, the exhibition has some playful elements as well. The majority of artists developed and reinterpreted some old objects, giving them new functions. A corset made out of old zippers, a slingshot made from the combination of many little things, a crocheted wayang shadow play was made from a sifter, and a mysterious escritoire with friendly monsters inside, a phrase in French praising the wonders electricity makes, and a funny play of light out of a closet. Dreamland and pragmatism, poetry and humor complement one another at this exhibition perfectly, they are bound together by the sensitivity of the artist approaching the everyday objects and the natural environment of the village, as even the funniest reinterpretation of some sheltered memories testify to the respect and deep understanding by the creators. The exhibiting artists have lifted the revised articles to a sacred level, the triptychs-like works of art serving as proof.
We have already answered the question on the invitation: What do these items call forth from the artists? How do they process the received messages, what kinds of responses do they create?
To the participating artists, in spite of having different cultural backgrounds as they came from Hungary, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Germany, Mexico, this world of a small village in Nógrád is not unfamiliar, as the majority of artists have been returning here for years, and they do not feel like strangers in Cered. The days and time they spend in Cered creating works of art provides then with an opportunity to immerse in a soon-to-be-forgotten culture, and to preserve the treasures of this culture for us city-dwellers visiting this exhibition. Naturally, breathing life into these forgotten objects could not have taken place without the permission of their owners, the people using them, so this exhibition serves once again as an irrefutable proof that tradition and innovation, relative seclusion and contemporary art, the inhabitants of a village and artists coming from abroad can all meet again and again and be united by thinking as Humans.
Opening speech at the XVII. Art Colony Cered exhibition in the Dornyay Museum in Salgótarján, on the 22nd of January 2013
Art Colony 2011
Welcome to this abstract space, which provides a perfect setting for these works of art. Where viewers can completely immerse themselves in them with the total exclusion of the outside world: there are no windows here, which on the one hand would take precious space from the artworks and divert the attention of viewers away from them to the more familiar, nevertheless very impressive scenery. So it is merely the light coming from above that contribute to the perfect viewing experience. Nevertheless, our attention is purposefully not directed to the individual worlds of each artwork exclusively, as this exhibition which is varied in genres as well as in the issues it raises was compiled to help create a community; the autonomous worlds may go beyond themselves. The main idea for artists to exhibit their works of art together as a group at one exhibition is usually an idea that one or a few people come up with, i.e. a thematic group exhibition. Here we must not be misled by the title: the title, a new word invented for this specific occasion: Prototype, gave participants a new mental challenge, but in the case of Cered art colony, we must not assume that we can find out inevitability by such abstractions. This new word means, in this case, the use of photography as the starting point, however, despite the fact that the works of art are of other media, the prototype for each newly created artwork is a photograph – and from these reproducible Images a unique work of art is created. Such a relationship of the reproduction is inverse to the mechanically duplicated images – hence this new term is justified here.
The real message of this exhibition is – as already mentioned – the intention to create a community. Going beyond postcolonial theory, but not going against them, we can see that the concept of center and the periphery have become meaningless, and in a geographical sense, it is becoming more and more incomprehensible where we are in reality, as physical space is being effaced. It is as if we are in the reality of Daniel Kehlmann, which can be described as follows: “This was now the age of the image, of the sound of rhythms and a mystical dissolution into the eternal present – a religious ideal become reality through the power of technology.” This refers partly to the collective experience of the community, where we are, in fact, alone – like at a techno party – but also to the ndividual who wanders in solitude, so it refers less to the community. The space is pushed into the background, making the network of human relationships more relevant. Based on descriptions, we may get the impression that Cered is a place that is far from thoroughfares, i.e. places where we meet people we do not wnat to, it is the periphery of the periphery, where instead of the rhythm of noise we can hear the rhythhm of life. But there is more to it than that.
I have already experienced in Zebegény that Budapest can no longer be heard over the mountains of Visegrád. Furthermore, no matter what happens in Pécs, people in Budapest will not hear about it. On the other hand it is easy in Berlin to know what is going on in Moscow and people in Amsterdam get information about everything in the blink of an eye. But what happens on the southern slope of Gellért Hill, cannot be called a downtown thing. Somehow, the waves of civilization are blocked and swallowed by mountains. We have recently learnt that the earth is a capacitor, Tesla had suspected it, but it wasn’t until recently that it was measured: it is called the Schumann resonance. Since then, the astronauts will undergo artificial resonance and eliminate the negative consequences. It is possible that in Cered – as electromagnetic pollution is probably quite minimal – the Schumann resonance is more audible; but it is also possible that when you are in Cered, there is nothing else to do, but to listen to each other, and that its strength lies.
Take a look at Cered on historical maps in the next room. The community was moved back and forth, as the borders were drawn and redrawn. Attractive. Seventeen years ago the founders of the Art Colony discovered the magic of this place and have turned its grave disadvantages into advantages. The experience of paying attention to each other may not become obvious when one looks at these artworks, as this has more to do with life itself, it proves that even here in this small village behind the Mammon there is enough room for the whole of Europe. What do you mean the world is small?
Night and day.
Opening speech at the XVI. Artcolony Exhibition in the Museum for History in Salgótarján, on the 13th of April 2012
Art Colony 2010
The Clean Room as a Work of Art
The clean rooms of the 15th Art Colony of Cered are ravishingly rich. But not in the usual sense of the word, as it is not about riches horded up in magical proportions. It is rather the richness of the multiple layers of meaning these works of art have.
Firstly, the clean room itself. The notion of the clean room takes us back into the past, to times when this room still had its original function; it was a room that was not used every day. The second layer being the way this tradition has changed over the years. People began to use this room, at the same time keeping its clean character with its simple furnishings. The third layer came when the artists attending the colony got to choose the clean room they wanted to work in. Or rather the room they wanted to work ON. As it was not simply a place to work at that the artists needed, but also the transcendent power, the tangible tradition this room embodies. This historical tradition was processed
during the art colony session. The artists turned this space into their own works of art through the so called site-specific installations created to exist in this place. The fourth layer came when two artists further developed this work
of art by taking photographs of the finished clean rooms. This way these immobile works of art became mobile, to be exhibited and accessible to others. This means that the exhibited photographs serve not only as photos but also as documentation, which serves as proof of a living tradition that has undergone some change processed by contemporary artists. So the program of the 15th art colony of Cered is unique and so are the finished works of art.
And we should not lose sight of the fact that for an art colony of this kind, or any cultural initiative for that matter, to celebrate its 15th jubilee is a unique feat in itself. Being located far from the big noise of the capital and other busy “art capitals” does not mean that the colony is isolated or out of touch, it means seclusion and the opportunity to be absorbed in one’s work,
which has its own rewards. The peace and quiet of the countryside is stimulating, and the artists used the opportunity, fulfilling the expectations and hopes of those, who put believed in the success of this initiative and provided financial support or helped the program in other ways.
Being absorbed in your work has its own rewards. All we have to do now is to enjoy these rewards, enjoy these works of art together.
Art Colony 2007
It seems that the 19th century initiative shared by artists who withdrew from large cities and from their institutionalised and stressful artistic life, seeking and making their own way, wishing to clarify and take on ideas of those who shared the same mentality, which in turn led to the establishment of artists colonies all around Europe and America has grown deep and long term roots in Hungary. In Autumn 2007 an exhibition in Szentendre showed works of the painters (including Hungarians) who attended Barbizon, the ancestor of such artists colonies. A large exhibition at the same venue displays outstanding former and current artists colonies in the Hungarian history of art. Some small exhibitions, simultaneously, show this year’s works from the latest artists colonies (from Élesd and Nagykáta, displayed in Budapest, from Szolnok, Miskolc and Sóvidék, shown in the respective cities), including works from this year’s Cered- Salgótarján International Artists Colony, gathered together for the 12th time.
From the viewpoint of Budapest’s art life it is worth nothing that artists nowadays prefer to move out to nature, often to villages virtually unknown to the public, to ind an open and welcoming fellowship where nature, community and art can interact to their mutual interests without the need for mediators, explanation and interpretation. Instead of the often cited estrangement of art and audience or spectacular events to bridge the gap, coexistence within nature offers a relaxed opportunity for a wide range of creative works. It is certain that cultural centres, in contrast to the freedom of creative work in an artists colony, must keep to established procedures and a strict scale of values. However, you must note the contrast between freedom and values, as well as the restrictive nature of value terms and the aversion to free and unpredictable creative work. I believe the time is ripe to occasionally draw together a large national selection, which is a ine opportunity to show what is going on in our artists colonies and is a way to bring the concepts of art critique closer to the art itself.
Artists from Hungary, Slovakia and several European countries meet every summer in Cered, located in Nógrád County and close to the Slovakian border. Ars poetica of the artists colony is, from year to year, deined by actors and ilm people in addition to artists. The artists colony’s open-air “Log Theatre” and Box Gallery are places where works are reined in public. The results are regularly shown at the Nógrád Historical Museum in Salgótarján.
You may ask: why Cered? What is in Cered? Well, nothing and everything. This year was the second occasion when returning artists found a common program and subject. Last year this subject was the wood, while this year it was the canvas. Cered has plenty to offer from both, therefore the 23 participants gave diverse answers to the current subject. Hereafter I will focus on the works which can only be summarised within one train of thought.
Considering the current popularity of the art of painting and paintings themselves, you may readily think that the artists colony became a colony of painters. However, the founding group of Cered art colony includes some passionate painters who have already painted everything therein – doors, walls, furniture, any objects or rubbish. Painting is therefore not a novelty for the participants, so the canvas did not inspire them to paint. Old homespuns (non-patterned, striped, checked clothes, sheets, bed linen, fruit-picking linen) and embroidered outits kept by the Cered inhabitants in their cabinets however implicitly motivated creators to seek the origin of the relation between canvas and picture. It seems that all artists have relected to this relationship, each in his or her own way. No wonder, because a barely striped cloth itself has been deemed a picture since the appearance of minimalism and its procedures aiming to re-explore visual concepts. This origin is clearly seen in Csaba Fürjesi’s double picture titled “Cered Tones” (Ceredi tónusok) which consists of two framed fabrics, which seem to be alike, but are in fact different. The Belgian Emi de Graeve builds on this; she created a tructured and plastic suspended canvas hanging natural variations of textile stripes (ribbons and wires) in front of it. This movement of planes is an autonomous artwork, implying that the history of Cered clothing is not yet complete as due to their former essence (i.e. usability) they need further care and attention. Similarly to the objects of so called “high art”, former handicraft products are treated as pieces of art, but are also deemed to be open for any interventions that are similar to canvas processing methods known from the culture. Resulting from this, the artist’s response to objects is integrated into the object itself. Emi de Graeve’s suspended set is a lag-like object. This opportunity was explored in a different way by László Sánta, who used grain storage sacks to make pictures that are similar to procession lags. His pictures include painted and applied details, showing everyday objects and items from the life of the village and the artist colony (for instance wells or the Ars Longa label) each with equal significance, sacralising and profaning their function at the same time.
The ancient version of all canvas imaging methods is the vera icon, Veil of Veronica. This is found in several works made in Cered, however it is not a painted picture but a print of the face of Jesus. Artists nowadays make prints on materials other than canvas, and the human body has been rarely used as painting device since the body prints of 1950s and 60s.
This may be the reason why prints on Cered clothes are so different and ambiguous. Csaba Fürjesi’s huge heads – inspired by different tones of Cered clothes and made by various colour pressing techniques – are variations on contemporary heroic icons and today’s popular (photo-based, authentic) icons seen on many different objects: an unidentifiable, linoleum-pressed face (derived from a drawing) is looking out from a twisted, grotesque body. This generic, non-speciic portrayal can be regarded as our authentic portrait. (Again, another common icon is seen in Gábor György Nagy’s work titled The Money Bag (Pénzeszsák), where he reproduced the missing image of money using frottage techniques. Printing on canvas is not the only technique used to represent icons. Ágota Krnács used drawing ink with walnut stain and drew a set using rapid movements entitled Expressive Eyes (Kifejező tekintetek), which, in contrast to the neutral style of advertising photos that give the impression of perfect people, shows characteristic and emotional faces, which are more realistic than photographed faces often said to be authentic. Klaudia Kosziba’s conceptual and artistic visual approach wants to step over the transitions between a real picture and an artistic picture as illusion. While she enables you to see the structure, the minimal ornaments or the seams of a homespun (i.e. results of a traditional cultural practice), she also produces illusion like painted pictures. Her still life consisting of a canvas bottle, a canvas knife and canvas bread placed on a canvas table cloth materialises the illusion produced by the painted canvas. This queries the authenticity of artistic illusion, moreover your concept of reality as well. Just like her other work titled A Lake Like a Hundred (Egy tó mint száz), where thousands of prints of the same igure piled upon each other produces the illusion of the sea, but the yellow canvas ish Swimming in front of it brings spectators into reality… and also from there into the lively imaginary world of children’s toys. So the problem of the collective application of cultural traditions and ordinary painting techniques becomes the relationship between art and cultural practice. True to the raw material, the creator treats the “high art” and illusions of any visualisation with irony, catching the essence of culture: the open operation of human abilities, (intellectual and emotional). Reference to things other than “high art” is a conscious creative work, and can also be construed as a new cultural practice, a suggestion to an anthropological art concept. If so, and if the memory of textile and homespun can be recalled, and former creators can also be recalled, you can understand and experience the objects in their own meaning. You can experience this in the shawls on Attila Bobály’s giant wooden woman, or the shirts, camisoles and eiderdown covers in different installations.
Cecília Kun’s Harvest Festival (Aratóünnep) consists of four female camisoles hung in a circle. The composition is suspended so that you can see it slowly rotating, like Palóc dancers on the painting of Zoltán Réti from Balassagyarmat.
Rothman Lenke from Sweden put an embroidered male shirt on a cloth, decorated it with ribbons and surrounded it with a small suitcase (that indicates escape) and photos taken from a ship’s window. This composition is the historical remembrance of the deported artists, who were forced to leave their home country. In his work titled First Communion (Elsőáldozó) Jozef Suchoža put also a roll of cloth to add its aesthetic quality to the camisole.His composition becomes complete by a sculpture, a ceramic chalice consisting of two hands (interpreted as the Palm of God). Giving meaning to an object as artistic process to create something new without adding to the number of artworks. This method is often used by contemporary art, which is sensitive to the civilisation, original function and context of objects re-qualified to artwork. Cecília Kun lived with this opportunity in her work titled Eiderdown’s Dream (A dunna álma) when reviving an eiderdown cover illed so that it resembles a human body. She did the same in her other work – made together with Klaudia Kosziba and Ágota Krnács – titled (Szeméremkajak), where creators, citing a common sexual reference, anthropomorphised (feminised) the eiderdown of a marriage bed by putting the feather mattress so that the opening used for illing it was face up. In his response to this female art (body disclosure) subject, Jozef Suchoža created a special setting: looking through the profane opening of the eiderdown case you can see a holy picture (Madonna). The key of holiness and profanation (the interpretation depends on your openness, culture and viewpoint) lies in the creator’s viewpoint (Secret Prayer). Despite the profanity of glimpsing (or even due to that) the meaning of the hidden picture, the other vera icon (Madonna picture), remains, moreover gets stronger.
Canvas displays, sewing, pressing, painting or stufing are procedures that are not (necessarily) related to art, rather to a culture and its history. Sheets, cases, towels, shirts were originally made for consumer purposes in relation to the human body, with ordinary or ceremonial use. The processed canvases contain the past (the weavers, embroiderers, and the female life itself) and – resulting from the creation process – contain artistic relections alike. The result is ceremonial. Canvases and settings illed with body and soul claim the same authenticity of human contents that were their raw material – the homemade canvas – otherwise represented.
“Think with the senses, feel with the mind” – goes the motto of this year’s Venice Biennale. Considering the history of art this sentence may sound banal, but Cered artists colony truly justifies the motto’s timeliness. A culture, which has been so far locked in cabinets and drawers, opened and fertilised the thinking of the creators. The little village (so far considered to be at the world’s end) and the actors who moved there in the summer, or just sent canvases there, gave sensitive responses to articles of a culture, re-explained and enriched the concept of value and art, while meeting the universal need existing in the art world. Instead of creating a difference between centre and periphery, they have proven the existence and signiicance of the freedom of art.