SAPAR Contemporary is pleased to present Zsofia Schweger: Cataloguing Time, a solo exhibition by the London-based, Hungarian, artist. An essay accompanying the exhibition has been written by Dominic Molon, Richard Brown Baker Curator of Contemporary Art, RISD Museum of Art.
Zsofia Schweger uses painting to reimagine the way we perceive domestic and public interiors. In this body of work, we are plunged into the universe of libraries - spaces that are premised on the idea of democratizing knowledge. In Wim Wenders' illustrious Wings of Desire (1987), one remembers the library scene where the angel-protagonists move around the Berlin State Library taking in the thoughts of all the people engaged in the mundane acts of studying, reading, or just reflecting on various matters of human existence. The scene is a musing on the accessibility of the library as a space frequented by all members of society. The sequence is accompanied by a soundtrack titled The Cathedral of Books, and the overall ambiance of that cinematic clip is felt in the breadth of Schweger's color palette.
At its core, a library operates as the heart of a people's consciousness. It harbors on its shelves proof of the unlimited potential of the human mind. But in Schweger's paintings, libraries are reduced to their skeletal structures. Using the University College of London's main library that she frequented while studying at the Slate School of Art, the artist renders the space in her signature flattened perspective, focusing on how the formal and compositional elements translate in each work. Devoid of people, and with disregard to such elements as organized multi-volume sets, Schweger opts instead for patches of muted colors, that create a soothing atmosphere propitious for viewers to meditate on the way in which they compartmentalize their experience of a public space. Rather than show us a library that is bustling with people, the artist manages to convey a sense of intimacy through the quiet tones that inhabit the artist's compositions. What might at first seem like the depiction of an impersonal, uninviting space, quickly becomes seductive by virtue of the quietude that transpires through these paintings.
Much of the literature surrounding Schweger's work mentions a practice informed the simplicity of her depicted settings against the backdrop of her upbringing in post-Soviet-bloc Hungary. Nevertheless, her paintings can be read from a more universal standpoint that would focus on the artist's interpretation of color, volume, and perspective. Schweger's work is largely inspired by painter and photographer Charles Sheeler, whose practice she came across while studying at Wellesley College. One can point to the use of angular edges, or the layout for the pieces of furniture inhabiting the frame. Overall, Cataloguing Thoughts is an exhibition that does just that. It invites a conversation about the way we go about processing the world through categories, in search of a certain order within the current paradigm.
Zsofia Schweger (b. 1989, Szeged) is a Hungarian artist based in London. Zsofia lived in the US for 5 years and studied at Wellesley College in the Boston area, before she moved to London in 2013. She then attended the Slade School of Fine Art, graduating with an MA in 2015. Zsofia's work in painting is informed by her experience of moving countries: she researches the notions of home and belonging, local identity and the emigrant experience. In her paintings of domestic interiors, Zsofia uses reductive paint application, flat panels of colour and a muted palette in order to express a sense of both comfort and alienation. Zsofia was selected for Bloomberg New Contemporaries 2016 and has been supported by several generous prizes. These include the Jealous Prize, Griffin Art Prize, the Alice C. Cole Award, and the 'One To Watch' Award.