_ Simple things

Simple Things, solo exhibition at Új Kriterion Gallery, Miercurea-Ciuc, Romania, 2023.12.27. – 2024.02.22.

Text published in the accompanying exhibition catalogue. A complete documentation of the exhibition can be viewed below this text.

About the motive

This process of thinking about the possibilities of interpretation and representation of the landscape started as a result of landscape experiences, and it was also the beginning of the creative process. Although the circumstances were mainly sensory, the question that arose was dry, and sounded something like this: How can landscape be represented? How can a landscape be depicted in a contemporary manner and effectively convey thoughts that align with the contemporary era?
It appeared to be a simple question, since the landscape seems to be that visible part of nature which stretches into the distance, which can be seen, that can provide a comprehensive picture, that is, a part of the world that can be painted, photographed, in which a sculpture can be made. Working in and around the natural environment has been complemented by a knowledge of the philosophy of landscape, which has broadened the horizons of artistic thinking, attitude, behaviour, and communication.
This creative method provided an opportunity to address issues brought to the surface by environmental change, urban sprawl, social unrest and alienation, or the politicised scene of art. It was possible to find an artistic theme, that had been almost forgotten, and by which to address not only artistic and philosophical problems, but also everyday phenomena.
What is landscape? – entirety; What condenses in it? - wilderness, man, city, mystery; Why is nature sublime? - because it is created and unfathomable; Where does wanderlust come from and where does it lead? Is it a desire to escape, an attempt to connect, a sense of freedom or a sense of belonging that arises when seeing a familiar landscape? Why does the landscape manipulated to the extreme by the enthusiastic photographer seem kitschy? If we accept Péter Esterházy's definition of kitsch, as that, which is alien to life, then are the things that the objective cannot transmit, and the camera's sensor cannot capture, alien to life? The range of questions meant, that the focal point of the exhibition had to be adjusted. After all, the ramifications of the landscape's philosophical aspects permeate the whole of human existence. The exhibited works therefore attempt to create images "only" of the relationship between man and nature, of the current perception of nature, of a sense of home and of identities linked to place.

About the works

At first sight, the elevated air of thoughts contrasts with the earthy scent of the works: a sack of sprouted potatoes floating in "non-space" – as an analogy of commonality; a ramshackle roof, a parquet floor pattern trodden into land, or the foundation of a house pounded into sand – as a metaphor for a sense of home; a pedestal of pine wood, on it a slide projector enlarging Szekler landscapes, which rotates a balloon shape on which a map of Europe and Transylvania has been "inappropriately" pasted – as an abstraction of some of the building blocks of identity; a mowing man – as a trope of the relationship between man and nature; an urban SUV idling in front of the landscape it projects, and a haystack in the form of an early Christian chapel – as a summed up view of nature.
The apparent differences between ideas and artefacts, and the creative conduct in which the quality of execution is merely influenced - not determined - is what philosophy calls as 'ontological creativity'. Dezső Csejtei and Anikó Juhász, in their work on grounding the philosophy of landscape, formulate the essential feature of the artistic attitude: the entirety of existing things, the all-pervading function is the physis, which is hiding and whose emissary is the landscape. The landscape reveals itself when the active observer looks at it. This is when landscape-creation can happen. The artist co-operates with what he or she is dealing with (ideas, materials, or the environment), merely helping things to come into being. He does not impose a priori conceptualized form. He lets it be, so that what has now come into being can be what it has become, and so that it can continue to exist.

The world of thought has captivated me: the beauty, fear or force experienced in nature could be interpreted. It gave an explanation of the instinctive, visceral, spiritual and analytical creative attitude. At the same time, it was possible to trace the Chinese and European landscape painting of previous centuries, a significant part of the history of photography, certain trends in recent and contemporary art, and nature art, to which this approach is inextricably linked. It was possible to combine the crude with the refined, the sensual with the rational, the humorous with the sombre, the playful with the serious, the modest with the overwhelming, the down-to-earth with the sublime. In my opinion, these are all somehow one-like, simple things.