MODEM Debrecen: ZONE


The Past Five Years of Alesd Artist Colony
20 January – 7 April 2013

Zsolt Bodoni: Golden Train, 2011, oil, acrylic on canvas, 195 x 165 cm

The origin of Zone is lost in the dusk, its exact location and extent is unknown. It is probably such an intellectual motif that is connected with the work of the artists of Alesd Artist Colony by the exhibition’s curator. The works themselves do not create a well-circumscribable and a scientifically perfectly describable corpus; their main commonality could be Alesd itself, in other words, a Romanian town where ten-something, mostly Transylvanian born Hungarian artists created an artist colony about ten years after the Regime Change. Five of them (Imre Barna Balázs, Zsolt Bodoni, Levente Herman, Mózes Incze and Sándor Szász) were students at the Targu Mures Arts Lyceum than continued their studies at the Hungarian University of Fine Arts, but not even their artworks create a coherent unit. However, there is one thing we can state: the landscape and the surrounding that forms the subject’s identity (may it be Targu Mures, Budapest or Alesd) play an important role. Probably through the interpenetration of the landscape, location (both in geographical, cultural and geopolitical sense), identity and artistic personality did the concept of Zone, as a fictive place, showed up.

The most know Eastern European Zone was created through the literary artwork of Arkady and Boris Strugatsky, namely in their short novel Roadside Picnic. This fictive, Soviet Zone was supposedly created by a more civilized society that visited the Earth then left suddenly, leaving many objects behind that bear special features and significantly influences the lives of the habitants. However, we do not know the working mechanism and function of these objects. They are the prints of an alien culture, a higher stage of development, whose members did not possibly realize the local, exotic, coal-based life-forms during their simple “picnic”, just like us who also do not intend to make any connection with roadside insects.

Sándor Szász: Blue Bird, 2011, oil on canvas, 135 x 185 cm

Based on the theories of this sci-fi, Andrey Tarkovsky shot his movie Stalker at the end of the 70s, which does not consider the possibility of the encounter of the third kind any longer. The movie focuses on the soul and faith of the humans who visit the Zone, and also on Zone itself as a geographical place. Thus Stalker is about the aims and wishes of modern and faith-lost people and about that kind of intellectual and material surrounding that determines their desires. Zone is not only a special place because of its mysterious, supernatural objects and phenomena but because, through the presence of the alien culture, it sheds a sharper light on the Earth, the earthly circumstances and the local biosphere.

Lehel Kovács: Industrial Landscape, 2008, oil on canvas,120 x 150 cm, Kogart Collection

In a way there is a Hungarian equivalent of Zone: Ádám Bodor’s Sinistra District, which is somewhere close to the Ukrainian–Hungarian–Romanian border. Similar to the Strugasky brothers and Tarkovskiy, with mixing reality and fantasy, in his work Bodor also represents the soul and world concept of the individuals living in totalitarian systems. Zone and District are both mysterious and ghastly, sometimes majestic and sometimes rather decaying and rotting landscapes where subjects exit in close unity with themselves and the land. The present exhibition naturally cannot present either the various, partly fictive and partly real political, cultural and medial borders of Zone and District, or the exact topographies of the border-crossings; but it can draw attention to that landscape and genre painting are not necessarily old-fashioned genres but are, in many cases, prints of a special, mental land that is formed by various ideal, cultural and stylistic elements by their creators.

Zone features the works of: Imre Barna Balázs, Zsolt Bodoni, Anikó Bugovits, Eszter Csurka, Zsolt Ferenczy, Éva Galambos, István Halmi-Horváth, Levente Herman, Mózes Incze, Dóra Juhász, Réka Kaszás, Lehel Kovács, Előd Orbán, Zsófi and Marci Pittmann, Attila Szabó, Sándor Szász

MODEM Centre for Modern and Contemporary Arts
H-4026 Debrecen, Baltazár Dezső tér 1.

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