Exhibition view, September 2020, FUGA, Budapest
Still birds sing, A4, marker on paper
or Edith, A4, marker on paper
or Edith, detail
Fragmentation, A4, marker on paper
Lived by the sea, A4, marker on paper
Stub, A4, marker on paper
Artist/writer/researcher, A4, marker on paper
Bench, 150×120 cm, oil on canvas
Danger I., 120×90 cm, oil on canvas
Danger II., 120×90 cm, oil on canvas
Danger III., 120×90 cm, oil on canvas
Cross, 120×120 cm, oil on canvas
Soo fragmented, 92×92 cm, weaving
Soo fragmented, detail
Highgate Cemetery. A place that has been on my mind for years. It was built in the victorian era, outside the city of London. Since then, London has grown all around it, and now it became a sanctuary in the middle of a buzzing city. My paintings, drawings, and the weaving are based on my walks in the West part of the cemetery. In these works, two ways of existence are represented, in constant contradiction, and yet entanglement with one another.
One is the existence of the flâneur – or flâneuse in this case. Josephine Livingstone and Lovia Gyarkye wrote in a 2017th article that’ This wanderer of the city, chronicler of the present, and contradiction-laden figure of the crowd, has always been a myth’. It might be true that being a full-time flâneur in our society is no longer an option – if it ever was. The wanderer who is always watching, but never becomes an actor in the story is not a real-time character. However, strolling in between the graves I have minutes – even half an hour when I am lucky – when the I is suspended, more precisely, it becomes a mare witness: witnessing all the people who died and are buried in Highgate Cemetery, the people who composed the epitaphs for their loved ones, and nature, who is slowly taking back its territory by overgrowing and cracking the graves. I suppose it could be the pleasure of peaking to others’ life what attracts me in cemeteries, but it is not. By giving my full attention to the cemetery, my own identity seems to fade away, and I become free from the pressure of finding a self-definition.
But I didn’t produce these works in the cemetery. The space of the studio brings back the questions of identification, which gets another colour in the light of epitaphs. We all had the experience when we had to summarize ourselves in a few sentences. Be it to the answer to the ‘So what do you do’ question, or to the ‘Tell me about yourself’ imperative. And at one point, based on our answers, the others will do the summarizing for and about us – not only when ordering our gravestone.
The medium of the presented works are reflecting upon the same dilemma: drawing being the self-conscious entity and weaving the eternal stroller beyond identification. When I sit down to draw, my decisions are already made, and in the course of 3 hours, I stand up with a statement: the drawing itself. Weaving was like roaming in the cemetery: my attention was outside of myself and outside of my will. It was on the material, on the touch of yarns, doing the same motion back and forth for months. I wonder if this distinction makes painting the middle ground – the reconciling of the two types of being present in this life.