Ákos Czigány–Júlia Néma: Box Man
Galeria Új Kriterion in colaborare cu Galeria Várfok
Miercurea Ciuc (str. Petofi nr.4)
2018 6 iunie orele 20
Expozitia va fi deschisa de Krisztina Kovács , critic de arta, director artistic al galeriei Várfok Budapesta
Expozitia poate fi vizitata pina la 3 august 2018 de marti pina vineri de la 12-18
Simbata 10-14

Ákos Czigány–Júlia Néma: Box Man

Interferences, the constant inspiration of one another, the forming of the own creative world through the parallel born works of the Other. The two artists who stage the exhibition entitled Box Man, Ákos Czigány and Júlia Néma, create in two very different types of art, namely in the medium of photography, respectively ceramics. The lives of the two persons (two artists) have nevertheless locked into each other and their art is also in uninterrupted dialogue. The connections between their works may be formulated on the level of the thoughts expressed by singular art objects as well as by groups of works of art, respectively in the lingo of art history. The exhibited objects represent different genres – photograph, relief, sculpture, installation – and are all imbued by the spirituality of constructivism and abstraction. The works reconsider the traditions of geometric art and are characterized by a reduced palette of shapes and colours, as only the various hues of black and white occur in the show. However, the ideas embodied in various genres and forms appear in extraordinary unity in the exhibition space.

The thought of a joint introduction has earlier already been conceived by the artists; after a 2014-show in Frankfurt am Main (Germany) they put on an exhibition of their works in 2016 in Veszprém (Hungary) in the Castle Gallery from the Dubniczay Palace. The present salons from Miercurea Ciuc came to life on the basis of the two former shows. As the placing of the works of art near each other and their dialogue reveals new layers of meaning, the exhibition itself may be regarded in a way a common art object. Whereas the show is a joint “work”, the single art pieces are always signed by only one of the both creators – apart from a sole group of objects. In respect to the media, the two artists preserve their identities, i.e. all the photographs were taken by Ákos Czigány, whilst the china and stone vessels and works of paper belong to Júlia Néma.

The basis of the show mean the diverse appearances of the two leitmotifs, of the box and of the house, respectively the reflection on their interchangeability, i.e. the idea of the house-as-box and that of the box-as-house. These two motifs, although different in scale, are in point of their essentials rather alike. Both are peculiar microcosms; the box is a sort of portable home, where everything important is ready at hand, whereas the house is our home where we spend the most of our lifetime, where – similarly to a box – we gather our valuables, so that it becomes a determinative factor of our identity. Where comfort, intimacy and homeliness are of primal importance. On the photographs by Ákos Czigány these Homes – houses – can be seen; although they are considered only from outside, they come to life through their firewalls. Even so, they invoke per se subjectivity and human existence.

On Júlia Néma’s reliefs this subjectivity is manifested as the abstract print of the gests that carve, bend and tear at the sensible china. The art pieces of paper porcelain witness unbelievable craftsmanship and preciseness, and use the structure and material of corrugated cardboard as well. They show the basic object of the box on many planes. The wholly abstract constructions are geometrically taut and at the same time in a poetic flutter, in an attempt to resolve the contradiction between hard angularity and softness.

House and box have likewise interior and contents; one of the most intriguing questions in them is what they might be hiding. But the photos transilluminating polystyrene packings and the ceramics picturing the negative of the boxes’ interior show only abstract forms. The box loses its functionality and is hereafter interesting not on the grounds of its contents but for itself, as a form. The box does become a piece of art exactly this way, through the powerful presence of the “lack of contents”.

Box and house may, when contemplated from outside, evoke closeness and the strange feelings of exclusion and inaccessibility. On the other hand they can indeed nourish phantasy, as it depends only on our imagination what do we find inside. As the main character of the Japanese writer’s, Abe Kōbō’s novel The Box Man (1973) says: “Instead of crawling out of the box I rather lock the whole world into it. Right now the world has to close its eyes. And it will be the way I want it to be. In this house everything is stowed away that can produce shadow and trace out the form; beginning from the electric torch to the matches, candle and lighter.”

Ákos Czigány is an outstanding contemporary Hungarian photographer. Since 2014 he has been the permanent member of the Várfok Gallery (grounded 1990 in Budapest, dedicated to the staging of contemporary arts). The keystones of his creation are the Hungarian constructivist traditions, the experience of the Bauhaus regarding space, respectively conceptualism. In 2010 his series Skies – Hommage à Hiroshi Sugimoto received the Lucien Hervé and Rodolf Hervé Prize and won 3rd Place and Honorable Mention at the International Photography Awards. A year later, in 2011 he got 2nd Prize and Special Prize of the Leica Gallery Prague at the FRAME011 international competition. His works have been staged in numerous (solo) exhibitions abroad (Paris, New York, Torino, Frankfurt am Main, Prague, Würzburg) and in Hungary (Hungarian National Gallery, Hungarian Museum of Photography, Mai Manó House, History Museum from Székesfehérvár, Várfok Gallery).

Júlia Néma, DLA, is a ceramist and designer, honoured with two prestigious Hungarian prizes, the Hungarian Design Award (2003) and the Ferenczy Noémi Award (2013). She is leader of one of the best known ceramics studios from Hungary; the Nema Studio is at the same time the first and only one in the country using a high-temperature wood-fired kiln to produce porcelain and stoneware products and artworks on a regular and professional level. Her researches and creation are summed up in her book Magas hőfokon: Közelítések a fatüzes kerámiához [At High Temperature: Approaches to Wood-fired Ceramics], the first and up to the present day only Hungarian language publication in the field. Júlia Néma’s sculptures, reliefs, objects of everyday use and paintings have been exhibited solo and in groups from America to Europe and Japan. She attends regularly international conferences and symposia and is present in renowned professional journals with her publications. She obtained artistic doctorate in 2012 at the Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design Budapest where she taught between 2006 and 2013.

Vanda Dillmann