press release

Marianne Csaky: Bilocation
September 30, 2009 - November 30, 2009


In her new series Bilocation, Marianne Csaky works with found images again. The works are based on 5 frames taken from an old celluloid film which was obviously shot somewhere in Europe at a family event. The film depicts spontaneous, unarranged scenes in an intimate(?) and also tense(?) situation.

As we all know, spontaneous community gatherings have their specific and well-identifiable spatial dynamics and rituals, just as home movies have their specific aesthetics and visual constructions, by which we instictively locate what we see in time and space. The other layer of the works, the charcoal drawing adds an extra feature to the scenes: a young Korean woman who acts as if she were taking part in the original scene but, at the same time, she still keeps herself outside the scene, at a certain distance.

The Asian woman is involved in the original situation as the artist’s alter ego, observes and reacts to what is happening in the pictures. At the same time, her gaze as well as the fact that she is drawn with charcoal, a medium that is different from that of the photo, she is also distanced from the original scene. The characters of the two layers, the photo and the charcoal drawing, look at the same situation from different points of view, I would say, from different places.

The visual construction of this work refers to the difference in the interpretations of people who live at different geographic locations and in different cultures. However, the artist uses the notion of personal cultural background as a very personal and complex phenomenon that is not defined automatically and exclusively by a certain geographical location, culture or nationality. At the same time, it refers to the artist as a wanderer, a “homo viator”, using Nicolas Bourriaud’s term, who is continuously on the go, travelling from one place to the other, from one culture to the other, being inside and outside at the same time. This mental and physical state, this form of living adds new aspects to the process of interpreting and re-interpreting and, by this means, it also provides remedy and release from fixed notions and images.

Eternal longing for Elsewhere
Yves Klein Leap into the Void-Fiction about Fiction 9 pictures


Eternal fiction of longing to be away on a fiction in nine pictures
Leap into another dimension, fiction on fiction – halfway between the hardly recognizable and the unrecognizable

  1. The first fiction: construction – montage – creating a metaphor from reality, a leap from the physical world into the metaphysical one:
  1. Yves Klein invents the concept.
  2. He makes a leap at some point – he has the event photographed. First location photograph.
  3. They look for a new location. Second location photograph.
  4. A montage is made from the two different photographs and it is photographed.
  5. The result is a single surface photograph.
  6. The following day Klein publishes this montage in his two-page paper, not as a montage, but as an original photographic document of an event that has just taken place then and there.
  7. This is the first time an artist consciously introduces the artificial as art – not in a political context – applied – fake /media hack/ propaganda - into an artistic media sphere.

The work itself is the title: Leap into the Void. This is also new, the intended title as a work of art. Without this the work of art would not exist. Compare the title as the work of art – and the work of art as title.

            1. Second fiction: deconstruction – de-montage – the creation of reality from metaphor, leap from the metaphysical to the physical.

Kelemen uses Photoshop in a different physical environment, to create another newly constructed reality. The resulting photo montage is divided into nine pictures of identical size. The identical sizes of the pictures indicate the equal value of the cut-outs. He transforms the nothingness of the original picture into the nothingness of the unstructured.

b. With a new title, nothingness, newly structured through division and manipulation, becomes saved as a metaphor of nothingness. It becomes physical reality through printing and thus attains a new metaphysical dimension.

Poetical dimension, the tempting of the impossible.

The peasant ploughing in Brueghel’s painting The Fall of Icarus and the asphalt, the cyclist, the house, the sky, the foliage, the tree and the train of the photo-montage, are just as indifferent to the metaphysical ‘event’. The peasant does not recognize it, he does not have to know about it and he does not belong to it. Can he possibly know and does he even want to know? He ploughs, cycles and the train leaves for the next station. Nothing happened, but something happened without him. But in the end what ‘happened’ on this photograph? Nothing.

Art was created as an ontological argument. Besides the ‘is’, the ‘should be’. Leap into the Void.

Circular shapes float on some of the pictures. Alien things within the picture, born of the imagination. UFOs. For them the cosmic buzz of the material, the ontological humming is the context. They are at home and Klein is at home. Heisenberg has a smile on his face.

The pictures are also viewed from their point of view. They longed to get away from somewhere, precisely to this place, into these pictures. They are wandering around here. They have not come to discover anything. Only science is capable of discovery, the imagination only keeps alive the craving for the illusion of the discoverable.

Although. I am terrified by the thought, even on the level of the imagination, that something comes, looks at me, does not look at me after all, does not want anything, not even to leave a trace, does not address me. I am not even asked what I want. It moves on.

Károly Kelemen, 20.06.2009

Lenke Szilágyi


Greek: Eidullion = small picture
Encyclopaedia: pastoral idyll depicting the life of ordinary people (shephards), a bucolic scene where the idealized terms are treated as real.
It's self-evident that the photograph represents objects of reality.

I'm there only as an outsider, having no ideals, recording merely the discernible surface, somewhere, some people.

Unclouded images with clouds.

At times they are gloomy and bring


Marianne Csaky: Time Leap 2

Marianne Csaky: Time Leap 2


Time Leap 2 is the title of an exhibition of new works by Marianne Csáky, opened on September 20 at the Me|mo|art Gallery (Balassi Bálint utca 21-23), as part of the Falk Art Fórum staged that day. The exhibition will be on until December 4. 
Somebody from now standing or sitting by figures from then in old photo negatives lit from behind. Instead of being here, the figure from today is there, in the reality of the image that connects two planes of time, moments from the past with the present.
In large photos (100x117 cm), mounted on metal, silhouettes of people from old photographs stand around an emphatically flesh-and-blood female figure existing very much now, in the present. They are images from memories of the past, moments of family life from then, imprints (images drawn and embossed in swine leather) of an idyll that exists already only in the form of images materialised in the skin of today. As opposed to the immaterial images of the past, this skin bearing their imprints is very tangible, it touches the reality of the present, which is not idyllic at all.
Imprints of time materialized in film, glass, metal, wood, stitched silk or leather appear in these works. Each work is based on a photo, a document that is very personal but is also somehow familiar to all of us. And the question is whether the story, with a moment in the past and the present at its two ends, can be changed by altering the images of the past, by the artist, the individual placing herself into the very source, into the origin of what she is now. If the beginning and the present are connected, these opposites are dissolved in this time leap in the space of the picture and in the mind, can then the past, the source of the identity be rewritten? Can it be changed? And, as a consequence, can the present be rewritten too?
The works exhibited at the Me|mo|art Gallery represent a continuation of the work based on the issues of memory, identity, documentation, personal history and small community history, and also on the concept of the pieces exhibited by Csáky this April in Seoul, South Korea. In part, it is also a continuation of the work first shown at the VideoSpace Gallery in Budapest last November, and at the Hungarian Institute in Brussels in early 2008. 

Mari and Evike
The works of Lorant Mehes and Janos Veto

A taste of the exhibition

Lóránt Méhes, who is 56 this year, is one of the most important figures of Hungarian photorealistic painting, a pioneer of installation art in Hungary, and an outstanding representative in art of the esoteric intellectual movements of the 1980s.

At the beginning of his career, Lóránt "Zuzu" Méhes was a legendary figure of the Budapest underground, a staple presence of Kex concerts, Rózsa espresso actions, FMK exhibitions and Gábor Bódy films. His photorealistic portraits, still highly valued, earned him immediate recognition. In the early eighties, he and his friend János Vető stirred the scene with spontaneous, radical and frivolous installations, paintings and sculptures, spectacular and humorous works that appropriated political-cultural symbols.

After 1985, Lóránt Méhes turned to hublot replique religions. Mystic paintings and "devotional objects" that reinterpreted classic models made him an early representative of post-modern visual art. Since 1999, he has been painting "genre pieces" that are based on his own photos, his own personal experiences. These "new" photos are concentrates of the peculiar, changeable nature of human desires and perception - in a form that has universal value and quality.

With Méhes's retrospective exhibition in Ernst Museum, and the catalogue that is to be published, we are not only to pay our overdue homage to an excellent oeuvre which has not been sufficiently appreciated; we also want to explore the phenomena of contemporary Hungarian art, and thereby integrate Méhes's work into an as-yet-incomplete history of Hungarian art, as well as to represent an oeuvre that has had an immense influence on others, and an extensive network of intellectual alliances. To this end, we organize discussions during the time of the exhibition, about photorealism in Hungary, installation art, and the artistic manifestations of mysticism.



From masks into portraits

From masks into portraits.

Kelemen makes the 19-century South-African masks, now museum objects in the Sprenger Collection, into the inhabitants of a fictive small town (as is well known, the title of Picasso’s Les Desmoiselles D’Avignon alludes to the setting of a brothel in Barcelona’s Avignon Street). So the fictive portrait overwrites the shamanic-transcendent context with that of the citoyen. The reproductions of the masks exhibited at the museum metamorphose into Kelemen’s paintings through multiple visual transformations, and their distinct character simultaneously refers to all three contexts, those of religion, of the museum and of the art history.

Sándor Radnóti: The Antecedent Image

More than once I have had the honor of speaking at openings of exhibitions of Károly Kelemen’s work. I have previously taken the occasion to talk of his works and periods. Now I would like to try a cursory outline of the intellectual outlines and background of his painting. There used to be much debate whether an artist should imitate nature, or rather other artists – respected artists, generally old masters. Winckelmann, for example, mentions in a debate that Bernini “boasted of having thrown off a partiality he had first felt toward the charm of the Medici Venus – a charm which he also, after exhaustive study, discovered in nature.” This is all very well (responds the father of art history), but then “it was this Venus that taught him to discover the beauty in nature, beauty that he had previously thought only to be found in the Venus; without the Venus, he would never have sought it in nature.” This penetrating riposte contains a discovery that would only become obvious over the course of centuries of debate: that works of art (and other images produced by civilization) present cultural schemas that have great influence on the images of nature that we see. Landscape painters seek out “picturesque” views – and what they consider painterly is deeply rooted in the history of painting, just as the portrayal of the female body has been determined by the vision of it as a manifestation of nature.

As the domains of culture came gradually to expel the presence of nature, this came to be the place where we go – various languages have their own expressions – we “run” there, “fly” there or, in the peculiar Hungarian version, we are “yanked” there, on excursions. The great majority of images behind the paintings came less and less to be modeled on nature, and more on sights and symbols created by humans. The last great nature painters at the turn of the twentieth century produced the final culmination of a long period of painting with works that are not naïve reproductions of reality, but rather their own constructions.

The dramatic changes in the substance and themes of painting were accompanied by a renewed vision of painting’s task: the realistic or idealizing imitations of reality that once seemed so obvious came to be supplanted by an independent development of form per se, leading ultimately to abstraction, and perhaps (as an extreme example) to monochrome painting. The image preceding the painting – once the entire world itself – had shrunk to oblivion. No longer was there an image to serve as the basis for artistic creation. Just as fatal a blow to the representative function of art was an apparently contradictory current that turned objets trouvés into works of art. Here we might be inclined to think that reality itself is being transformed into art at one stroke, but in fact the elimination of surrounding reality is the sure sign of alteration. (Who would urinate into Duchamp’s Fontaine?) Somewhere in between these two directions – the treatment of form in itself, and objects in themselves – we encounter paintings that we may connect to preceding images, like the image of a pipe with an actual pipe. (As long as we ignore the philosopher-painter’s note Ceci nest pas une pipe.)

Art made absolute in itself, and the disappearance of “reality” might seem a kind of endpoint, and indeed have seemed such to many. But the image preceding the picture has made a reappearance in many guises, one of the most important being that the images of art history itself – existing works – have taken over the function of antecedent images. Something that has always held a secondary position in the history of painting, like a copy used for study, or to present a picture to a wider audience, or as a variation, or instructive solution or crystallization, or a quotation as homage, and so on – these have always been possibilities, the subject (and purpose) of art within so-called appropriation art. Such connections, previously considered just interesting curiosities, or just currents in the history of artistic influence (like the link between Giorgione’s Fête champêtre in the Louvre, Manet’s Déjeuner sur l’herbe , and Picasso’s works that make reference to these), have now become somehow part of the very essence of painting. Winckelmann’s demand that the artist imitate other artists and not nature has become surprisingly apposite after more than two hundred years.

Appropriation Art began as a branch of pop and concept art. Among its manifestations were a precise reproduction of a Picasso bearing the title Not Picasso. But as is generally the case with currents fertile in ideas, it came to draw more and more on tradition, and its possibilities expanded. This is where Károly Kelemen enters the picture more than two decades ago. Such an entry naturally gives rise to misunderstandings, or rather logical interpretations that, in retrospect, lead to dead ends or at least backwaters: eclecticism, secondariness, hommage and parody, and the search for correspondences in content or art-historical analogies through the appropriated works, and the like. Today it seems clear that Kelemen always worked with the eddying presence of the antecedent works involved, with the phenomenon of having precedents.

Still, there is no trace of historicism in Kelemen’s allusions. It is not the historical (or stylistic-historical) position that he takes up, but rather sights that he considers – and demonstrates – to be largely pre-composed. He shows that a painter’s eye cannot be innocent, even in a cultural-historical sense.

The antecedent images are, at the same time, exceptionally variegated, drawing on much more than just the world of art. To take examples from Kelemen’s inventory, the images may come from the media, from everyday life (toys, cards, chocolate eggs, painter’s implements, and the like), from photographs (of artistic enterprises, or documentary images, or portraits like those in the Szondy Test, and others), or from bad art (kitsch, or second-rate tendentious works, and the rest). The composition of the antecedent images comes to accept objects that have nothing to do with them, as well as the converse: motifs pop up outside of the compositions that originally bore them. We have the composition and pose of Picasso’s Ironing Woman of 1904 presented in that artist’s much later Cubist style, while in place of the abject frail figure we get a muscular teddy bear. While Kelemen spent a certain period constantly returning to Picasso’s Demoiselles d’Avignon (in one picture he combines one figure from that work with the teddy bear and Cézanne’s Mont Saint-Victoire), he restored an art-historical continuity in doing so. To put it another way, he becomes one of Appropriation Art’s tradition-makers, given the well-known fact that a couple of those women bear the outlines of an African mask in Picasso’s possession. At the same time, it is clear that Károly Kelemen has no desire to create any kind of imaginary museum – these are merely quotations in these works. Obviously it is the painter’s express wish to quote the antecedent paintings involved, but at the same time he also sets out to dysfunctionalize them: take, for example an absolute staple of gesture-art, the “disfigurement” of works with an eraser. For Kelemen, these are not gestures of retraction, of doubt-casting – of erasing, in other words – but instead layer the picture like transparencies, creating out of impulses an abstract ornamentation over the apparently-inviolable painting.

A good general characterization would classify this painting as the kind that creates expectations out of previously-existing situations, and always serves up surprises – surprises that exhibit a continuity and consistency. The appropriation of the tremendous and heterogeneous store of antecedent pictures has given rise to an oeuvre in practically the traditional sense of the word: recognizable at every turn, and unmistakably indicative of the painter who created them.

Contact person: Mészáros Zsófi
mobile: 06 30 374 1243
1136 Pannónia street 6.III.floor 3.