SENSORY TALES curated by 2022 – Rita Kálmán, Lívia Páldi

Works

About

Sensory Tales

curated by Rita Kálmán & Lívia Páldi

Krinzinger Schottenfeld, Schottenfeldgasse 45, 1070.

Opening Days: September 9 &10, 2022, 12 – 6 pm.

Duration: September 13 – October 29, 2022.

The exhibition takes its starting point from the understanding of fluid and transformative existence, relations and presences. It brings together artists with diverse mixed media practices whose collaborative and individual works interrogate the contemporary condition through the somatic and explore the relationship between bodies and the organization of space. Informed by queer ecologies, feminism, critical anthropology, re-envisioning collective futures and infrastructures the presentation revolves around notions of radical joy and intimacy, abundance, vulnerability and resilience.

Sensory Tales features a line-up of artists from different generations, backgrounds and geographies whose practices share a nuanced and transformative treatment of their chosen media challenging us to reconsider how we read and understand facets of reality and identity.

The works enter into conversation on many levels as artists come from different political, sociocultural and economic contexts. They have each developed an expansive visual vocabulary that might involve or be inspired by textual experiments, poetry or fiction. Their art-based inquiries often connect to critique of dominant ideas around gender fluidity, desire, sensuality as well as implicit and explicit violence or misuse of power. The dominating genre of the exhibition is paper based work but the selection includes crafted objects, sculptures and costumes. Though the pieces and series presented employ various strategies they each embody a commitment to continually challenge our ways to question existing systems of meaning and understanding knowledge.

Exhibiting artists: Johanna Calle, Gideon Horváth, Tamás Kaszás, Dóra Maurer, Aliza Orlan, Mithu Sen, Katarina Šević, Dominika Trapp.

*Rita Kálmán is a freelance curator currently based in Vienna. She is the initiator of the Dot.To.Dot visitor program, Budapest.

**Lívia Páldi is a curator and art historian currently based in Budapest working for BTM-Kiscelli Museum Municipal Gallery. Previously, she was curator at Project Arts Centre, Dublin.

JOHANNA CALLE

Johanna Calle (b. 1965) in Bogotá, Colombia. Lives and works in Bogotá, Colombia.


„My language is drawing. I have developed a visual grammar to communicate my thoughts. In my drawings I use signs, alphabets, manuscripts, texts, photographs to construct an image. My drawings are related to the sign, symbols, words, synthaxis, ethimology, phonetics, oral tradition, dylects and linguistics. I draw writings. I write drawings. My language is drawing.“ Johanna Calle

Returning after three years abroad in 1995, Calle was confronted with the dramatic turmoil of her country. This encounter ineluctably shaped the sense of presentness that runs through her work. An inescapable commitment to her home soil pushed the artist to perform exhaustive research on a variety of issues regarding power structures, land use, armed conflict, and the disappearance of children. Such was the intensity with which she approached these themes that she avoided conventional and bare representation and utilized materials literally drawn from these topics: hence her use of wire, one of the materials with which the makeshift buildings of Bogotá’s slums are held together. Another recurrent material was cotton, on which she sewed elusive images of abandoned children’s faces. Calle regards these formal procedures as part of a wide spectrum of alternatives to conventional assumptions around the act of drawing, and to also see her use these materials as a support for writing is not rare, for, as aforementioned, the two disciplines become an almost indiscernible practice, both insisting on the what and on the how in equal measure. (Source: Javier Hontoria: Johanna Calle, Artforum, print, March 2017)

Perímetros (W.S.M), 2021

In her ongoing series since 2012 Johanna Calle works with found blank notary sheets historically used to legally register land ownership, land use, taxation, property lines, and other data associated with the possession of land by use rather than ownership. The silhouettes of Mesoamerican native trees are drawn using typewritten texts that refer to Colombia’s 2011 agrarian reform, the Ley de Víctimas o Ley de Restitución de Tierras (Law of Victims or Law of Land Restitution), which outlines the rights of victims of displacement. Reports estimate that there have been more than 6 million Internationally Displaced People (IDP) in Colombia, who have lost their homes, agricultural land and livelihood due to the five decade long armed conflict between the guerrillas, paramilitary forces and military. In order to claim the right of ownership over land, the restitution program initiated by the Colombian government recognizes as admissible evidence also the proof of improvement that have been made on a plot, such as having planted certain varieties of “useful” trees, in particular fruit, fodder, ligneous species, protection or enhancement of soils. (Source: Johanna Calle: Dibujos Dessins, essays by Alexis and Helena Tatay, 2017)

GIDEON HORVÁTH

Gideon Horváth (b. 1990) is an interdisciplinary visual artist based in Budapest, working with a wide range of mediums including videos, photos and installations. Conceptually, he mainly deals with ecological, queer and new materialist theories. His works question anthropocentrism and dualistic worldviews, always giving space to the sensual and intuitive ways of experiencing his themes. His most recent works are inspired by queer ecological theories, criticizing the heteronormative/dualistic standards that we hold upon nature and culture. In his sculptural installations he mainly works with beeswax, which he uses as a queer material due to its highly sensitive and resilient nature. The wax has the quality of being ambivalent, fluid and constantly becoming, which are Horváth’s central artistic notions. Selected solo exhibitions: Kiss of the Sun, ENA viewing Space, Budapest (2022); The Faun’s Ball, TIC Gallery, Brno (2021); Faun realness, ISBN Gallery, Budapest (2021).

Selected group exhibitions: They/Them/Their: Naturally Not Binary @ IMT Gallery, London (2022); An eclectic attempt to complete the torso in my head @ UGM Studios, Maribor (2022); Hope is not Desire @ Sopa Gallery, Kosice (2022); Beings & Creatures Chapter 2: In the Midst of New and Old Kinship @ < rotor > Center for Contemporary Art, Graz (2022); Abundant days to come @ Glassyard Gallery, Budapest (2022); Mythology Heritage @ House of Arts, Ústí Nad Labem (2021); SLOW LIFE. RADICAL PRACTICES OF THE EVERYDAY @ Ludwig Museum, Budapest (2021); xtro realm presents: ACLIM! Agency for Climate Imaginary @ OFF-Biennale Budapest (2021). This fall Horváth will participate in the residency program of the Akademie Schloss Solitude, Stuttgart.

Opulence, you own everything! (2021)

In his ongoing project, Gideon Horváth deals with the contemporary representation of the mythological figure of the faun and its bacchanalian world. He observes and reimagines their universe through queer-ecological theories and current underground queer cultures. He treats the faun as an exiled figure focusing on his queer hypersensitivity and the gesture of resilience which both appear as emancipatory powers. 

The American documentary Paris Is Burning (1990, dir. Jennie Livingston), which documents the drag ballroom culture in New York in the 1980s, has greatly inspired the work. The title, a quote by the character Mercedes Iman Diamond, is a statement that reflects upon the richness that is the chameleon-like ability of the queer contestants of the voguing balls. They can change into many shapes and forms, much like beeswax, the material Horváth works with and considers a constantly changing and fluid, queer material.

(Source: the artist)

Emergence series (2022)

(A fountain, a vase and two gargoyles)

In the ”Emergence series” the artist examines the notion in relation to the identity’s ever-emergent process of becoming. He perceives identity as an ambivalent entity that is both fluid in response to its changing environment and steady against oppressing norms. The installation shows fundamental symbols that are associated with fluids, water and their emerging phenomenons. However, instead of spewing water, the fountain resembles an overripe fruit with its inner content bursting out. The substance does not ejaculate but oozes out from its cracks. At its feet lies a vase that might serve as a carrier of the emerging material. From the back two gargoyles watch over this scene, also bursting with the elemental content that cannot be withheld.

(Source: the artist)

TAMÁS KASZÁS

Tamás Kaszás (b.1976) lives and works on the Szentendrei Island near Budapest. He graduated from the Intermedia Department of the Hungarian University of Fine Arts in 2003. He works in a wide range of media and his research-based practice revolves around ecological, economic and social issues including the concepts of autonomy, self-sufficiency and sustainability as well as the practice of folk science. Kaszás often works in various collaborative formats (Ex-artists’ collective with Anikó Loránt and the Randomroutines with Krisztián Kristóf) employing recycled materials and easy-to-make designs. His artworks and installations may be interpreted as proposing new forms of sociality and the radical imaginary. His works have been exhibited on solo shows at De Appel, Amsterdam; Netwerk Aalst, Aalst; Kisterem, Budapest; Calouste Gulbenkian Museum, Lisbon; Muzeum Sztuki Łódź, Łódź; Kassák Museum, Budapest and Krinzinger Galerie, Vienna among others. He has participated at group exhibitions at Hamburger Bahnhof – Museum für Gegenwart, Berlin; The 19th Biennale of Sydney, Sydney; The 12th Istanbul Biennial, Istanbul; Künstlerhaus – Halle für Kunst und Medien, Graz; Edith-Ruß-Haus für Medienkunst, Oldenburg; Ludwig Museum – Museum of Contemporary Art, Budapest; SMAK, Ghent, Trafó Gallery, Budapest, Frei_raum Q21, Vienna and Kisterem, Budapest. His work is held in the collections of the Tate Modern, London; Muzeum Sztuki w Łódź,Łódź; MUDAM – Contemporary Art Museum Luxembourg, Luxembourg; Museum Ritter – Sammlung Marli Hoppe-Ritter, Waldenbuch; Hungarian National Gallery, Budapest; Ludwig Museum – Museum of Contemporary Art, Budapest and ICA-D, Dunaújváros.

On Mineral Fibers (Summer House Herbarium) on display here are part of a special herbarium series created by an unknown author (or authors). They were excavated in 2018 from where a holiday home once stood on Szentendre Island (close to the Danube bend). The slates were boxed and buried in the concrete basement of a former Czechoslovak-style cottage that had been burnt to the ground. The owner of the lot launched an inquiry as to where the boards originated: what was the purpose of these slates and who created them? Approximately three hundred sixty 40×40 cm slates were found, depending on whether the fractional, damaged, blank, and possibly the spoiled or preliminary pieces are included in this figure. The objects most likely constituted the holiday home’s roofing, which had stood on the plot between the end of the 1960s and the 1980s. The slates feature cyanotype prints* – supposedly created in the 1990s – that almost exclusively feature botanical shadow forms; that is, the photographs of plants pressed on their surfaces. The prints that have been subjected to botanical identification depict indigenous or non-native plants that can be found in the vicinity, as well as typical ornamental plants and commercial crops. These depictions lack scientific fastidiousness: the slates do not have labels and neither a list nor a description accompanying them has yet been found. Moreover, the mode in which the plants are presented are typically uniquely aestheticized, as opposed to being objective. Nonetheless, we can understand this collection as a sort of naïve herbarium, the grandiosity of which derives from the persistence of a manic hobbyist.

It is important to take another circumstance into account. The slates are cement tiles that contain asbestos** and were produced with the use of modern technologies. The use of asbestos containing products was, however, banned globally in 2002, because it was found that it is harmful to one’s health when inhaled. The asbestos-containing slates are hazardous after they have been dismantled from the roof and, accordingly, there are complex regulations on how they should be handled – the compliance of which involve high costs. Therefore, the burying of herbarium can be seen as illegal waste disposal. The relatively thoughtful packaging of the slates indicates that the creator expected these to be found, but we do not know whether they knew about the asbestos content and the hazards involved with producing these images. It remains unclear if the creator was an amateur naturalist, hobbyist, or a naïve artist. Is it possible that a forgotten artist’s hidden project has been unearthed?

(Tamás Kaszás)

* Cyanotype print: a primitive photographic blueprint-creating process, which one can even undertake at home. The image is produced by sunshine on a surface soaked in a solution composed of ammonium ferric citrate and potassium ferrocyanide. It is then fixed when washed with tap water.

** Asbestos: a natural mineral fiber that is a filamentary structured layer silicate. It is a material which is a good insulator, fireproof, resistant to acids, elastic, and flexible. Due to it being widely available, it is cheap and its industrial applications were popular in the previous century: more than three thousand different products were made from it. However, after it became known that it is harmful to human health, its omnifarious use was banned in 2002. Nonetheless, it still lives with us in old houses and roofings.

DÓRA MAURER

Dóra Maurer (b. 1937) is a significant figure of international and Hungarian art history. From 1968, as a Hungarian-Austrian dual citizen Maurer fostered the development of the international network of relations of the Hungarian neo-avantgarde. Alongside her activity as an organiser in the art scene, her engagement in art pedagogy is also remarkable. From the 1970s, she has regularly shown her works at significant international exhibitions. In recent years, Maurer has taken part in group exhibitions held at Centre Pompidou, Paris (Promises of the Past, 2011), The Art Institute of Chicago (Light Years: Conceptual Art and the Photograph, 1964–1977, 2011), MoMA, New York (Transmissions: Art in Eastern Europe and Latin America 1960 – 1980, 2015) and the Tate Modern, London (Performing for the Camera, 2016), where her solo show was on view from 2019 to 2021. Maurer’s latest retrospective exhibition So Sehen und Anders Sehen [Seeing like this and seeing differently] was organised at the Kunsthalle Bielefeld in 2022. Her works can be found in the collections of the Art Institute of Chicago (Chicago), Centre Georges Pompidou (Paris), Ludwig Museum – Museum of Contemporary Art (Budapest), Hungarian National Gallery – Museum of Fine Arts (Budapest), Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York), Museum of Modern Art (New York) and Tate Modern (London), among others.

Dóra Maurer’s artistic practice is organized across all media, including process-based prints, experimental drawings, conceptual photographic series and system-based paintings. Since completing her studies in printmaking in 1961. Maurer’s work is deeply rooted in the versatility of forms and seriality – observing and documenting transformations, movements, shifts and displacements. The intention to study and visualize these processes is not only present in her prints made since the 1960s but in her photographic works and experimental films of the 1970s, as well as in her more recent paintings.

The photogram series entitled Sluices (1980–81) were made by using wooden plates placed at various angles on photosensitive paper and exposed to differing degrees of light at varying angles. To record the changing effects of light and shadow, Maurer also used aquatint, an intaglio printmaking technique. In her manual on copper-engraving and etching (Corvina Publishing House, 1976) where photogram is discussed as a form of photo-graphics, she wrote: “as per the effect of light, what is actually created is a painterly print of the object, which is rich in tone.”

Art historian Dávid Fehér discussed the series as follows: „Dóra Maurer often experiments with interactions between different materials and media. From the very beginning, she has been fixing traces that result from slightly controlled processes. The series entitled Sluices thematise such phenomena. The works investigate how the wooden ‘sluices’ modify the movements of light, or dust on the surface of the (printing) plate. The picture plane photographed from above evokes a unique maquette, modelling the human gaze. In the pictures the dynamic structure of diagonally arranged geometric forms is counterpointed by the amorphous, ‘fluid’ vision of the ‘moving materials’. The compositions can be compared to the photograms of the avant-garde photographer László Moholy-Nagy, and thus re-think several traditions of experimental and kinetic art.”

(Source: Vintage Gallery, Budapest)


ALIZA ORLAN

Aliza Orlan (b. 1990) is a graduate of the Department of Printmaking and Other Media, AFAD in Bratislava. She/they participated in a one-year internship at the Strzeminski Academy of Art Lódz in Poland. She also presents her work as Aliz or Orlando. Selection from solo and group exhibitions: Inside fluffy rococo shall, Moon gallery, Liberec (2022); Anonyme Zeichner, Galerie im Körnerpark, Berlin (2022); Fragile, Národná banka slovenska, Bratislava (2021); 27′ international symposium of art jewelry and other media, Kremnica (2021); Little Room of Queer Loneliness (Teplá izba osamelosti) Diera do sveta, Liptovský Mikuláš (2020); Nature and Nature, A4 – Space for Contemporary Culture, Bratislava (2020).

Orlan’s work touches on the topic of the fluidity of gender identity. It contradicts the idea of boxes of binary defined tasks and their visual representation. These intertwine in the works in delicate details and grow into each other in organically acting shapes and compositions.

(Source: Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Bratislava)

The exhibited series of drawings have all been made during the period of my life when I was slowly moving and changing to Aliz/Aliza. It is a story about the growing and metamorphosis from egg to worms, from flowers to flying insects. It is a period of my life when blue and red are symbols of my fluid gender being. I strive to define my own identity while blurring the boundaries between humans and nature.

(Aliza Orlan)


MITHU SEN

Mithu Sen (b. 1971) in West Bengal, India. Lives and works in New Dehli, India.


As a self-professed postcolonial feminist (something she describes as a self-crafted position that is about a way of life rather than a set of theoretical codes), Sen uses different forms of poetic expression in her practice, whether it be the written or spoken word, a visual vocabulary or performative gestures, to create her own so-called dream language. “I’m interested in the power of communication and creating a language without hierarchies,” she says. At times childlike and humorous, in other instances sinister and debauched, Sen’s language—whether written, drawn, sculpted, sprayed, photographed, filmed, collaged or performed—attempts to penetrate the audience’s psyche, to address suppressed issues and to tap into more visceral ways of communicating. If the reality of a society is produced by its languages, then Sen uses her own poetic language to reflect larger questions back at it, challenging the way we view ourselves and our human relationships, as well as inherently patriarchal and predominantly conservative social constructs. (Source: artasiapacific)

“On your hand – I place my hand – barely. In our hands – nothing”, (2009)

While preparing her site-specific installation Me Two with drawing and sound at Krinzinger Projects in 2009, Sen conducted an intensive research on Austrian Expressionist painter Egon Schiele, finding both thematic and formal parallels with her own work. The New Delhi–based artist decided to take up one particularly striking motif of Schiele’s for her new series of drawings—his depiction of hands. In Sen’s On your hand – I place my hand – barely. In our hands – nothing, these hands appear to be holding or grasping something, but it is nothing we can see. These clenched hands are combined with sweet little roses and charming tigers, with squid, pretzel sticks, a gorgeously adorned boot, a stag’s antlers, and cacti. The motifs are ornamental but also symbolic: The rose stands for immortality but also for the convolutions of the unconscious; the bird is an image of migration but also stands for a “desire to nest.” Balls recall nipples, and even tigers and fish are freighted with sexual connotations. Like Schiele’s work, Sen’s pictures conjoin pain and beauty; sexuality, longing, and death; ornament and emptiness. (Source: Sabine B. Vogel, Artforum, print, January 2010, p. 218)

Untitled Series (2020-22)
Navigating the complex construction of gender and sexuality, both in the body and the psyche, I investigate socio-culturally (un)desired impulses of repressed sexual desires, unseen aspects of the human body, intimacy, identity, role play, and all things sexual in an atypical manner.

A part of my art practice has been excited by the representational and conceptual bodies.

Often human – non-human,

Organic-inorganic,

Morbid – humorous,

Metaphysical, physical, emotional, and subconscious.

They are erotic, hybrid, and sexual,

body responses, body reacts.

Here, the body interacts each and every moment with other bodies, sexually, non-sexually.

I like to seduce my viewer subversion through sexual images.

Sexuality is self-confidence as well as genetic makeup, the tool for me to enter the psyche, a personal identity that we develop over a lifetime.

The ‘sexual-morbid overtone’ in my work is to provoke and trap people, to force them to see and contemplate. I try to bring tabooed sexuality out of the closet. (Mithu Sen)

KATARINA ŠEVIĆ

Katarina Šević (b. 1979) is an artist born and raised in Novi Sad, Yugoslavia. She graduated from the Intermedia Department of the University of Fine Arts in Budapest.

Her practice includes working with objects, costumes, performances, archives, and texts, in an attempt to unravel the layers of the past, explore intersections of parallel and contradictoryevents, and merge them with contemporary social experiences. Her main interests are the notions of craft and the impossibility of independence. Her work has been exhibited in many international solo and group exhibitions, including: Martin Gropius Bau, Berlin; Archive Kabinett, Berlin; OFF-Biennale Budapest; Contemporary Art Museum of Vojvodina, Novi Sad; Le 19 CRAC, Monbelliard; acb Gallery, Budapest; Rennes Biennale, Rennes; New Museum, New York; Secession, Vienna; 21Haus, Vienna; Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin; Muzeum Sztuki, Łódź; Kunsthalle, Budapest; Jeleni Gallery, Prague; Remont Gallery, Belgrade; OSA Archive, Budapest; ISCP New York; Jewish Museum, New York; ŠKUC Gallery, Ljubljana; Fotogalerie Wien, Vienna, and others.

Parallel to her artistic/exhibition practice, she co-founded and ran independent artist spaces, Dinamo and Impex, in Budapest. She initiated, edited and published many books. Her work is often realised through long-term collaboration, mainly with Tehnica Schweiz. Berlin based Katarina Šević usually works on long-term projects that take shape on various scales. Her art pieces appear both as individual objects/installations and as performance props, with or without text. Sensory Tales presents a selection of objects, collages and costumes related to three larger cycles of work focusing on the notions of craft, power and documentation.

News From Nowhere (2009 – ongoing) is a growing series of handmade, stained and polished wood objects, so far consisting of about thirty pieces. Dimensions vary from the group of smaller size objects, of around 20 x 25 x 30 cm, to large size individual pieces up to 2 x 4 meter. The series are connected to Šević’s research into the various views on craft (craftsmanship) and its relation to/role in contemporary society. The title is an allusion to the visionary novel, News from Nowhere by the British textile designer, poet, artist and socialist activist of the Arts and Crafts Movement, William Morris. Published in the 1890s the book is an example of utopian futuristic vision informed and inspired by early radical socialist ideas. Most of the objects have an almost-familiar feel to them as they employ associative and narrative aspects of particular iconographies and defunct symbols of collective knowledge and memory.

The Curfew (2017) is a large-scale collaborative performance project produced with Gergely László (member of the collective Tehnica Schweiz) and played in the streets of Budapest. It deals with the issues of power, violence and the abuse of power to silence people from speaking out. Staged as a street play, The Curfew is an alternative form of public demonstration. A troupe roves the streets of Budapest pushing in front of them a three-meter high egg-shaped, multiplayer megaphone. They stop at busy public squares to perform their play as a speaking choir about the transfiguration (and increasing political consciousness)of a group of security guards. Helped by the magical “talking egg” their public voices are reborn and amplified. By using tools related to the various traditions and forms of street-theater, such as grotesque and humor, the performance aimed to celebrate freedom of expression and fearlessness, acting against a general mood of political and civic frustration and passivity. The Curfew was produced by OFF-Biennale Budapest 2017.

DOMINIKA TRAPP

Dominika Trapp (b. 1988) graduated from the painting department of the Hungarian University of Fine Arts in 2012. Her practice has been characterized by a two-way interest: on the one hand, a sensitive painterly approach that allows for intuition and introspection; and, on the other hand, an outward-directed sensitivity that facilitates dialogues between communities in the service of collective self-knowledge. Her works often address topics such as the relationship between tradition and contemporary culture, women’s fate in traditional Hungarian peasant communities, the historical context of eating disorders, or painting as a possible somatic method for artistic research. More recently, she has participated in the residency programs of Art in General in New York, the Erste Stiftung in Vienna, and FUTURA in Prague. In 2020, her solo exhibitions were presented at Trafó Gallery in Budapest and at Karlin Studios in Prague. In 2021, she took part in the 14th Baltic Biennale in Vilnius. She is currently a multimedia art fellow at the Doctoral School of the Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design.

Escaping Water (2022)

“One of the main goals for me right now is to return to that kind of intuitive painting, that I have been exclusively engaged in 12-15 ago, and which I have abandoned for the sake of other conceptual, collaborative, research-based works, because I felt it being too uncontrollable, and it also made me feel too vulnerable. […] At last, I’d like to submit myself again to my visions, and unfold the metaphor of the material escaping from the function-giving form through my images.” (Dominika Trapp)

Power must grow, if it doesn’t grow it rots (2020)

“While working on this series I was to use painting as a somatic practice – following the concept of the French philosopher, mystic, and political activist Simone Weil who investigated how bodily practices could play a significant role in human moral and religious development – to explore my authentic relationship with feminism. […] I started by playing with two agonists: the hair clip as an invasive agent, and less conscious organic masses. When I paint I never sketch or trace, and in these works this allowed interactions between these characters to emerge intuitively. Simultaneously, I took notes – often emotional ones – that I later analysed and collected on the back of each painting. After weeks of painting and listening to lectures about the notion of power by Hannah Arendt, I started to see parallels between the emerging interactions in my paintings and my ambivalent experiences within radical feminist circles. Following my path of research into power dynamics, ideology, and the body that began with Arendt, I started to reread Simone Weil. Through revisiting her ideas I saw the hairclip as a symbol of an ideology that, in the words of Weil, creates readings for me by organizing reality into peculiar shapes – most of which I now couldn’t accept as my “truth” anymore.” (Dominika Trapp)

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