Monday, 14 February 2011

Zsuzsi Csiszér @ Art Blokk

We first became aware of Zsuzsi Csiszér’s work at Budapest’s annual Art Fair at the Műcsarnok whilst reporting for  Her poignant, foto-realistic, faux-collage paintings have quickly made her one of our favourite contemporary female artists. Zsuzsi is currently exhibiting at the Art Blokk gallery in the Corvin centre and we went along to take a look...

The exhibition develops the same themes which Zsuzsi has been exploring for the past few years such as the pressures faced by 21st century women and the way femininity is portrayed and condemned by mass media. In one series of claustrophobic portraits, Zsuzsi traps her subjects in an extreme close-up, their faces ‘slashed’ through a technique of layered oil paints which imitate rips and tears in the canvas. Others are suffocated beneath plastic, their beauty commodified and preserved like a piece of expensive furniture. There is a blatantly violent overtone to these portraits which, at times, is quite unnerving...

While these portraits seem to deal with the trappings of beauty, Zsuzsi's other painted collages such as Mother Curtain and Why Not? deal with other pressing issues faced by women today. Mother Curtain hints at pressures of marriage (specifically arranged marriages), while Why Not? suggests the inner conflicts of a woman facing peer pressure over sex, cigarettes and other vices.

Larger pieces such as There Are People Who Like This and You Have to Know What is the Topic of This Picture are a barrage of mixed media imagery and slogans erupting in a glamorous, explosive mess. The images are instantaneous, they grab your attention and draw you in with their vivid colours and suggestive subject matter.  However, take a closer look and you will spot some hidden details - motifs of teddy bears and ducklings, revealing the lost innocence of the women who have fallen victim to the trappings of mass media culture.

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