Changing perspectives

Gabriella Hajnal / Eszter Kass / Eszter Poroszlai

31 August - 29 September 2023

According to the philosopher Lajos Szabó, "reality is given in perspectives." With Maszó, there is no single perspective, only a multiplicity of perspectives, a series of perspectives that offer insight into the complexity of reality, the richness of the world. And understanding requires shifts, changes of perspective and different experiences that reveal differences. The exhibition at The Space offers the viewer an opportunity to reflect on the role of shifting perspectives in art; three artists from different generations, each with a very different relationship to the textile tradition, present in this exhibition a particular, non-genre-specific abstraction, or rather a condensed cosmological perspective, offering evidence that an artistic phenomenon is of higher quality the greater the tension between its openness and its self-containedness.

Gabriella Hajnal (1928), an outstanding artist of Hungarian tapestry art, graduated as a painter from the Academy of Fine Arts in 1957 and immediately switched to tapestry making: "I enjoyed the fact that I could only move within the strict framework of vertical projection and horizontal weaving, within which I had to find the best way to express myself." - writes Hajnal, whose encounter with the Lady with the Unicorn series of carpets at the Cluny Museum in Paris was a fundamental experience. Hajnal progressed decade by decade along the path of her own individual abstraction, her early tapestries were still fairytale-like, then inspired by ancient historical periods, until by the 1970s she had arrived at a minimalist motif-based, clean-textured tapestry approach, in which the centuries-old tradition of tapestry weaving could also become a field for experimentation. The three pieces in the exhibition, entitled Equilibrium (1979), are stitched felt-wool works that are a testimony to Hajnal's experimental approach. The concise formulation of the line that divides the circular form into two, reduced to a symbolically dense motif, and the colours, which are limited to a few subdued shades, are evidence of an abstraction that is almost unique in Hajnal's oeuvre. A view from a changed perspective.

Kass Eszter (1959) followed the opposite path to her mother, Gabriella Hajnal. Eszter Kass graduated from the Department of Textiles at the Hungarian College of Applied Arts in 1984, but it was the state of textile art in Hungary in the 1980s that made her feel like a failure, so she turned to painting. The abstraction of his works is always derived from nature. Enlarged details of organic forms and structures emerge, painted in strong radiant colours. But his series of paintings from 1999 play on the ambivalence that links textile art and fine art in the second half of the 20th century. After all, many contemporary artists consciously evoke and quote textiles in their canvases, and the exciting factorial and symbolic possibilities of different materials, fabrics and weaves have long since infiltrated the painters' motif library. In Eszter Kass's brilliantly coloured works, it is as if pseudo-pachworks, as if the seams of quilting, the needlework, the meeting of different qualities of materials were the main theme of her oil paintings.

Poroszlai Eszter (1974), the youngest member of the trio, went furthest in his free and conceptual reinterpretation of the textile genre. Poroszlai's entire oeuvre to date has explored the possibilities of redefining space and the relativity of perspective, all within a minimalist but constantly experimental artistic toolbox. His most recent experiments lead him into the world of the individual photograph and print, exploring combinatorial variations based on transparency and the displacement of form. His series Insta(nt)llation, which has been growing since 2021, employs the oldest photographic process, cyanotype, in which an image is created using sunlight. The precise geometry of the spherical form projected onto the canvas contrasts with the painterly quality of the analogue process. Poroszlai has been using thread embroidery as a textural element in his photographs and prints for many years, and in this series the cyan-blue colour of the background, which represents the cosmos, is in exciting dialogue with the interference of the neon-pink thread system that reveals the inner laws of the sphere. The Layers series explores the possibilities of combinations of colour and form created by displacement. The translucency of the coloured squares (blue, yellow and magenta) - with a circular hole in the middle indicating the axis of rotation - always results in different, dynamically changing images. Poroszlai's complex artistic exploration is most in harmony with the words of Lajos Szabó quoted above, "reality is given in perspectives."

Noémi Szabó art historian, curator