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
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