The Voids of Pest 1 2018
acrylic, paper collage, 100x150cm.
As artist in residence I was able to ‘document’ Budapest: after much walking and investigation, the vacant lots all over Pest captured my interest. I wondered about their histories and futures, but their present also had presence. I see these spaces – all still used in some way – as an expression of Budapest’s identity and inner consciousness. The sharp angles felt, exposed brickwork, solitary atmosphere, and sense of both enclosure and openness – they are a defining feature of Pest. These paintings were immediately recognizable to Hungarian visitors.
Three large paintings were built up by snipped pages of a Communist-era travel book describing all the historic/architectural tourist sites of Hungary: Magyarorszag Utikonyvek. Strips were cut and tinted (leaving text visible) and then used to build up the space, consisting of strong perspectives and elements of human presence.
En lieu sur 2020
acrylic, paper collage (various), 50x70cm.
The series ‘Places’ represents vernacular architecture in transition. All architecture, whether vernacular or monumental, echoes the society that built it. Fissures in communities eventually find their way into buildings. Decisions to uphold a structure or let it deteriorate are owned collectively. By capturing these moments of vulnerability, I hope to express something about a community departed. Where have they gone? Why were they unable to resist certain forces? There is a deeper story than simply neglect, but I leave to the viewer to fill in details. I am simply ‘rebuilding’: depicting a structure piece by piece by using pieces of maps – translucently painted over – as building stones. These are places that might still be on the map, but they now struggle with nature rather than humans.
Untold Depths 2020
acrylic, paper collage (maps), 150x100cm.
There is often a documentary core in my work as I seek to express something about the personal and collective significance of buildings and places. I had been wanting to move to portraying more fantastical architecture, and also looking at how this may connect with the trend towards living in our own bubbles. In this first piece, what I ended up depicting was a sense of isolation imposed by Covid restrictions, though a wishful, luxurious version. A sense of escapism, I suppose. Yet the social distancing of today is something that has been developing for some time. The digital world has, for example, changed how we interact. Untold Depths is a kind of projection of how this translates architecturally. I simply find it interesting to ‘map out’ (and maps are used in the collage) the extremes in human habitats, from building perfect islands of isolation to the things that happen as a result of human habitats – such as sinkholes.
Note: The text above was written by the Artist. No modification was made by COCA.
Observations on the built environment and architectural structures are the springboards to my work. I am fascinated by the history and stories, the patterns and geometries, and how structures impact our lives or communicate values and experiences. Coming from a background in historic building conservation, my practice involves the process of building, too. I use painted and printed papers (connected to the subject depicted, such as local maps) to build compositions piece by piece. The work is almost always representational and characterized by dynamic lines, layers, strong colours and tiny details. I create in series inspired by a specific theme and use a variety of visual languages, in the service of finding and expressing things worth seeing, be it loveliness, ugliness, oddity or something in ourselves.