Representatives of the youngest generation of Hungarian contemporary art, these woman artists showcase various different artistic positions. The non-existent or barely existent expression “confuseless” – found perhaps only in the digital realm alongside various other neologisms of the internet – makes us uncertain, blurs the boundaries, simultaneously claims and negates; likewise, the four exhibiting artists bewilder us with their confidently unsure artistic statements. Their works speak of manic obsession, tropical longing, pseudo-reality, and romantic materialism. Amongst the wide range of techniques represented at the exhibition are shaped canvases, plaster masses, polyurethane foam sculptures, acrylic felt-tip pens, inflatable air mattresses and digital posters. Post-romantic stories with four different approaches.
Born in 1990 in Debrecen, Mónika Kárándi finished her studies at the Hungarian University of Fine Arts in 2014. Kárándi constructs her post-romantic visual universe laden with yearning for far-off places by magnifying the tropes of free time and tourism to exotic countries. In her shaped canvases stretched on projecting, skirt-like frames and her installation titled Lagoon (2017-2018) she reconstructs modernity’s myth of longing to escape civilisation through rice patterns scattered around palm trees and an oil painting placed in an inflatable air mattress forming a pearl mussel. Sensitive comments on Gauguin’s legendary Noa-Noa and on the pseudo-naïve search for exoticism in The Blue Lagoon, the cinema blockbuster from the 1980s.
Zsófia Jauernik was born in 1989 in Budapest and graduated as an architect in 2014 from the Budapest University of Technology and Economics. Her interest in project-based collaboration, interdisciplinary research and open-ended installation, however, has landed her in the fine art scene. Jauernik works with a characteristic post-internet approach, using cheap rubbish, DIY techniques and decorative elements, through which she creates the empirical world and romance-imbued toys of materialism reaching beyond the digital. Her polyurethane foam sculptures titled Don’t be afraid to be confused (2017/2018) evoke Bocca della Verità, the fortune-telling Roman relief which has been reduced to a shopping mall spectacle by today.
The expression of the sculpture that bites off the liar’s hand is re-interpreted here by the confused emoji icon of Facebook Messenger. The tripartite installation Romanticism is Over (2018) illustrates the new dialectics of the birth of notions, roaming on blurry and romantic fields of interpretation. Jauernik creates a framework in which she brings to life John Keats’s “negative capability”, beauty perceived beyond logic, indicating the points where the tropes of nineteenth-century thought created by Romanticism intermittently emerge in the realms of the modern and the post-modern.
Budapest-born Melinda Dovák (1991-) pursued her studies in Munich and graduated from the Hungarian University of Fine Arts in 2018. Dovák’s artistic vocabulary is a sensitive personal reading of new abstraction which recycles art historical icons as well as minutiae. Her DJ sets executed in acrylic, spray, and twisted canvas mix loud and rowdy techno with transparent trompe-l’oeil lies. Her large-scale paintings shaded by spray-paint model different layers of reality while her crumpled canvases soaked in glue and her objects recycling spent images are reborn as studio litter and firebombs, re-sculpting two-dimensional painting into experimental sculpture.
Erika Fábián was born in 1988 in Budapest and graduated as a graphic artist from the Hungarian University of Fine Arts in 2015. Fábián’s art is a visual imprint of self-therapy conducted with monastic consistency. Her artistic method can be derived from graphic art: she speckles her canvases with miniscule dots using an acrylic pen. The coloured dots record the day’s creative process like a diary, similarly to the vaguely-outlined plains in Renaissance fresco-making intended to note the tasks required to conclude within the day (the giornata). Out of the visual image-making process evoking the growth as well as the eerie decay of coral reefs, a variable, pulsing raster pattern is born. While Fábián’s large-scale painting (150 x 150 cm) titled P171125180107 (2017) provides an experience of totality which absorbs the viewer and rocks him with the cool flesh-like shade of pink, her work titled Pink II. (2017), with its microscopic dots painted under magnifying glass occupying a surface no bigger than a pair of palms, creates the miniature realm of the biological self.