Péter Fitz writes about Zsuzsa G. Heller's installation 'Lifeline - Memory of the deceased,' recently on view at Faur Zsófi Gallery in Budapest
Emotion, movement, light, material, fragility, space, time evoked, subtle transparency and coarse, rusty impermanence, the disharmony of musical noises, dramatic and lyrical moving pictures – these are the factors Zsuzsa Heller G. uses to create her installation. It has everything needed for the almost all-art space formation of poetic and tragic representation.
The basic element is the curtain wall made of thin porcelain – the first material and genre of the artist’s oeuvre. The wafer-thin, patterned, white pieces are swaying, softly rustling and clashing, almost tinkling in the space, their transparency and fragility being a representation of human fallability and mortality. However, their purity and their uniform yet individal character symbolise the fragility of man. The curtain wall is located at one of the sides of the installation. The thin pieces – besides being what they actually are – cast their shadows, which play a significant role in the installation: the unity of the object and its shadow counterpart is of paramount importance.
The middle part of the installation is highly dramatic in nature – rails, rusted wheels, bone-like porcelain bars scattered and heaped on the ground, ceramic debris. Obviuosly, this part stands for the states of decay, connecting the two planes of time (deportation and annihilation) in a highly spiritual way.
The third spatial element of the installation is the seemingly incessant three-part video projection, which is a visual counterbalance and, at the same time, a definition and an interpretation of the work. The book, being browsed page by page is a motif symbolising knowledge, civilization, history, culture and faith. The next visual unit is the flame, which seems to dissolve everything that used to belong to a human being. This part is followed by an element that is quite similar from the visual point of view – a vision of swiftly flying clouds that is metred by the rhythm of the fast movement of electricity poles. The fragmentation and the reddish colours of the cloud dance shot from below almost forecast the last chapter: the fire that consumes and destroys all of this, everything. A rusted iron wheel is turning in front of the fire; sparks are flying; the whole world is cracking and turning to ashes. The turning wheel, hung in the very space serves as a counterpoint of the other – real, almost scattered – wheels of the installation.
The moving pictures are endless; they are being repeated over and over again.
The visual and spatial representation is accompanied by intertwined sounds.Basically, they are just noises yet due to their repetitive character (the thumping of the train, the popping of the fire, the rustling of the pages, and the soft ringing of the ceramic pieces) form an organic part of the installation.
Decay, rebirth, cycles, life, knowledge, destruction, glitter – they are all represented in a highly subtle and balanced way. The visual and auditive tools have an effect on the senses and the emtions rather than the mind. The reference to the Holocaust is made in the title: “Lifelines – Memory of the deceased”; the presence of an overwhelming historic and personal knowledge is felt uninterruptedly.
The installation is a logical outcome of Zsuzsa G. Heller’s previous works; it is the newest one of her works of plastic art and installations created in the recent decades. She creates a unity of the dissonance of diverse materials; the porcelain, the wood, the iron, the rust and the visual images, along with the space and the sound make up a visual complex of unbelievable strength. The space can be walked through; the structure of the connected elements offers an opportunity for the viewer to decide on the order of experiencing the installation, while the incessant, repetitive moving pictures provide a fast rhythm, or, to put it in another way, a history of the events. The work itself, at the same time, is a space for meditation.