" Alone on an islet lost in a Slavic ocean ”
(Environment, natural objects, straw, wood, hay, sandstone, wool, plant liana, dried flowers, rope, led, video ...) 2021.
Enter the dead end of Agen, a narrow lane lined with majestic wild pear trees,
it's get out of the din of the city to take refuge in a timeless enclave.
Entering Mariann Szoke's building with its dark and narrow corridor is like stepping into a “narniesque” wardrobe to emerge in the light of a verdant, luxuriant and deeply soothing oasis, another world whose origin is anchored further east on the banks of the Danube, in Hungary to be precise.
This garden, in a courtyard emerging from the concrete, offers itself as a space to oneself, a place between oneself, which allows us to escape from everyday life. Similar to gardens of the Far East, it constitutes an enclosed world, a courtyard between four walls, a singular, protected, isolated microcosm that envelops us in a protective energy.The place seems to evoke the soul of the Magyars, who faced with their complexity, their fear of disappearance and their difficulty in extricating themselves from it, often take refuge in solitude to withdraw into themselves. *
My first idea was to create a work environment which would prolong and amplify the feeling of " vegetable break ”conducive to reflection, conversation, creation and knowledge.
The second track was to go back to the source of this space, by plunging back into history, that of the courtyard. which was once a washhouse, and that of my origins Hungarian, common to my host.
The work is offered as an immersive space, where artificiality tries to disappear in favor of the natural to allow everyone to to "rewild". For the "industrial" man that we have become and who has lost the meaning of life by cutting himself off from the heart of things, it is a question of realizing that " the living is always the central dimension of all existence ”*.
A truly staging is orchestrated so as to get closer to the natural environment. The straw, hay, and various species of dried meadow plants replace the ambient mineral. The space evokes the great plain of Hungary, the Puszta, and its related pastoral and equestrian activities; the presence of sound, visual and olfactory stimuli makes it possible to project oneself into this particular universe and to consider actions. This immersive, complex "garden work" enveloping, addresses all the senses by associating the frame, water, rocks, plants, animals, marrying the living with the inert, the ephemeral and the permanent, the fixed and the moving ... The past to present. A world in the world, in the privacy of each one where we enter in an intrusive way to look beyond the walls and decompartmentalize the world. The space is transformed, the gaze too. The consciousness of the world is changing. The walls are forgotten, they are no longer an obstacle, they certainly conceal, but reveal everything at the same time. They orient and mask the gaze, bringing new perceptions oscillating between opening and closing. The apparently closed space seems to open up more to come into contact with the light, the stars, the sky, the vegetation, the animals and the ambient air.
Everyone changes paradigm to reconnect with the origins and the primitive that lies dormant in us, to find authentic gestures, sometimes forgotten or unrecognized know-how, to better envision the future, reinvent it or reorient it in the era of the Anthropocene, the advent of antispeciesism and the probable collapse of our world.
The courtyard becomes a place of socialization, a container that makes content available. It allows us to get closer to the living, inclined to a certain temporality, and to activate a kind of deceleration which forces us to rethink our relationship to time. We are forced to look at the world differently, in a slower way in order to grasp in a minute observation all its complexity and its value. This environment forces us, for a while, to lose the memory of a frenzied society and to deeply feel the rhythm of nature.
A multitude of objects are presented in this "re-savaged" universe. All of them show an economy of means in the choice of materials and in their production. wool. Natural materials or objects such moss, sheep's wool, bones, seeds, bugs, lichen, or manufactured or man-made items such as wire mesh, glass balls or the like, are swaddled in lianas of Muehlenbeckia, a generally very invasive plant. This confinement, or "interference" goes beyond imprisonment to provide protection and preciousness to the packaged element. This action reveals, in this coming and going between the shown and the hidden, the importance and the need for a fusion between all the constituents of living things to better envisage the future. The sculptural object becomes a catalyst, it presents itself as an enigmatic offering which sets in motion the thought and the doing. Art is here to be understood as Joseph Beuys considered it " each human being has a vocation to create, hand in hand with his fellows, the conditions for a world overflowing with life ”
Journey to the land of the Gypsies: Unknown Hungary, Victor Tissot (speaks of Joseph Eôtvôs who would have exclaimed 30 years before the creation of the Austro-Hungarian empire "the Magyar race ... is like an islet lost in the middle of the Slavic ocean ")
* Hungary, The anguish of disappearance, Françoise Pons, 2016.
* Rewild yourselves, Andréas Weber and Hildegard Kurt manifesto, 2021
* The Gift, Creativity and the Artist in the Modern World, Vintage, 2007 (concept which is not so far removed from that defended by Lewis Hyde *, namely the essential “circulation of the gift”.)