Statement – “Magyar Mesék: Memories and Myths”

In these drawings I am exploring personal and family histories and the nature of memories. I am interested in the bi-directional interaction between past and present.  Perception of the past is affected by all the changes since the original memory; the present is also influenced by the past, though, as is shown visually by the fact that the most powerful marks in the base layer are still visible beneath all the layers of new information and interpretation.

In order to express the idea of interconnectedness of past and present and transformation from the “objective” to the personal “subjective,” I am using a combination of figural and abstract techniques. The figural elements in these works are the photographs, the graphite renderings of photographs, and the ink drawings of traditional Hungarian motifs. The abstracted layers are my personal interpretation of the same elements.

All of these pieces started out with a layer of Hungarian motifs and/or a family photograph.  I encountered the motifs used in the base layer in school, at home when watching my mom draw on linen and embroider, when reading a collection of folktales or admiring the TV animations of my favorite Hungarian tales. We mythologize our past by constantly altering, romanticizing, idealizing it. I have shown this in my drawings by combining photographs (the “objective” representations of events and people) and renderings and abstractions of traditional and “idealized” Hungarian folk motifs.

The layers that come on top of the base all build on and abstract from the very first layer.  The materials that I use—ink, gesso, graphite—are carefully applied so that they retain their ghostly semitransparent quality. This allows for interaction between the first layer— “objective recordings of memories”—and the layers building on the base.  How we perceive the originally “objective” memories planted in the first layer is altered by all the subsequent layers that are created over time.