2016. máj. 24.

With Passion / Slag Gallery, New York, US

Review of  "With Passion" show (NY, Slag Gallery) at Artcritical.com by Jessica Holmes

Live Fully and Well: Art at Slag Gallery in a Time of Trauma

Erika BaglyasA Group of Vertebrates, 2014, Pen drawing on paper, 19.68 x 27.5 inch

With Passion
June 3 – July 17, 2016
Slag Gallery, 56 Bogart, Bushwick, NY

Artists: Erika Baglyas, Naomi Safran-Hon, Alisha Wessler, Jody Wood, Masha Zusman

Curated by: Naomi Lev and Jovana Stokic

Opening Reception: Friday June 3, 7-9 PM

Screening Event: Passion/Compassion, Saturday June 25, 4:30 PM

Philosopher Simone Weil writes: “Human existence is so fragile a thing and exposed to such dangers that I cannot love without trembling.”[1] Weil describes a delicate condition in which intimacy and sensitivity evoke compassion. 

Defined as “sympathetic consciousness of others’ distress together with a desire to alleviate it,” compassion is a complex and dynamic term that incorporates many other notions and circumstances within it; passion for example, is a criteria for compassion. In Western philosophy as well as in religions, passion is considered a primitive and an instinctive state of being that is the basis for deadly sins. Contemporary philosopher Roberto Mangabeira Unger, however, rejects the idea that the passions must be tamed in order to be productive, and suggests that passions are raw responses that can also act in the service of reason. 

How can one love without passion? How can one love without compassion? How can one create without passion and compassion? The artists in the show engage with these issues through diverse forms and narratives, ultimately showing a compassionate existence in art. 

Masha Zusman works laboriously with ballpoint pens and mixed media on found plywood. She manipulates religious icons and cultural forms from her upbringing and recent surrounding to create a new-world synergy, bringing to the surface repressed qualities that tend to be overlooked. The elements in her works are based on quotes and borrowed images including: Byzantine Iconographies, Eastern European Jewish paper cutouts, Russian Modernism, and Israeli paintings. By combining these different cultures and beliefs through abstract forms, Zusman invites a view into our multilayered society. She creates from diversity while accentuating an intimate symbiosis.

Erika Baglyas’s drawings bring forth interactions between people. Drawing with pen on black paper, she creates unisex figures that are in constant strife and power struggles. The delicately tailored figures, centered in a black dark void, are fragile entities assertive yet vulnerable. These somewhat severe works show the hardship in humankind, and allow an observation of our weaknesses.

Naomi Safran-Hon creates intricate works made of fabric, cement, and acrylic paint. Her images and inspiration come from the situation in her homeland, Palestine/Israel, where she photographs ruined and abandoned homes, later to reconstruct them using domestic as well as construction materials. Her work is an attempt to identify with, and suggest creativity and growth as a means for compassion to ongoing human struggles.

Through experimentation Alisha Wessler creates alchemy between opposing parts. Her detailed objects are made from various materials and often inspired by small readymades she collects. Based on personal and collective memory Wessler investigates intimate features in the evolution of human kind – either of what they have left behind, or what they might leave behind. Stimulated by superstition and ceremony, these delicately executed artifacts connect the physical, the emotional, and the devotional.

Working in film, photography, and performance, Jody Wood often collaborates with willing participants from her community. Here she presents a new video titled In the Black Box, (Looking Out), 2016, alongside a stills-installation piece. Manifested through performance combined with documentary-style film, the video explores the notion of empathy through secondary trauma. Here she emphasizes the importance of preparation and disengagement from roles of care-work, and reveals the interdependent nature of trauma and time. 

The notion of passion evoked in the title signals its semantic root in struggle and deep visceral engagement with the world. Consequently, compassion is understood here as a stimulated interaction with others. Thus, the title “With Passion” refers to the artists’ engagement with their practice as well as with the audience. These works have in common a wish for empathetic viewing. If compassion is an ethical duty, how is the audience’s responsibility provoked by these works, and how does it translate to the audience’s experience outside the gallery? The exhibition hopes to draw on the ethical consequences of an aesthetic experience – the repercussions of a simple act of viewing.

Saturday June 25, 4:30 PM

Artists: Andrea McGinty, Keisha Scarville, Jody Wood, Antonia Wright.


                    For press inquiries and reproductions, contact Irina Protopopescu at 917-977-1848

Irina Protopopescu
Slag Contemporary 
56 Bogart St.
Brooklyn, NY 11206
T 212 967 9818
Thursday - Sunday 1-6PM
Monday - Wednesday by appointment

2016. ápr. 14.

ALIBI / solo show / ICA-D

Baglyas Erika: ALIBI / solo show at Kortárs Művészeti Intézet - Dunaújváros (Institute of Contemporary Art) in collaboration with Z Angles Gallery. Curator Székely Sebestyén György art historian, the head of Z Angles Gallery, Cluj, Romania. On view till 13. 05. 2016 / in every day between 10 am - 6 pm --- except Sunday

Z Angles Gallery is a mobile gallery with projects and collaborations organized with/in other art institutions. 2016 will be a year of warming up, travelling, creating new contacts with artists and professionals. Not being limited to a given space but searching proper places to think exhibitions as site specific installations for the artist’s work this nomadism will also challenge the ways we communicate in a permanently changing social landscape.
A tanú, 2016, helyspecifikus installáció, kb. 1300 indigó lap a padlón, 8x8,5 m / The Witness, 2016, site-specific installation, circa 1300 indigo sheets on the floor, 8x8,5 m 

ALIBI, 2016, könyv indigólapokkal, keményborító, 19,2x12x4,2 cm / ALIBI, 2016
book with indigo papers, hard cover, 19.2x12x4.2 cm

A. tárgyai, 2016, digitális fotó, papír, 50 x 70 cm / Objects of A, 2016, Digital photo print, paper, 50 x 70 cm
Kurázsi, 2015, bazalt kockakő, töltőtoll, 8x9x16 cm / Courage, 2015, Basalt cobblestone, pen, 8x9x16 cm
Exhibition interior / detail
Exhibition interior from the street / detail
Exhibition interior / detail

Hiány, 2016, tárgyegyüttes: 3 db, egyenként két részből álló rézöntvény (32x15,5x2,5 cm; 16,5x11x2 cm; 13x36,6x2 cm) / Absence, 2016, a set of three cooper moulds each consisting of two pieces (32x15.5x2.5 cm; 16.5x11x2 cm; 13x36.6x2 cm)

Text on the window, view from the street: ‘I would also long for open and clear things, for fresh air and for the sincere surprise triggered by simple sentences.’ 

Erika Baglyas uses elements of her biography as raw material for her art. Places and objects are surprisingly able to express the specific time of her life and, denying its linear nature, to capture the past in the present.  Born in Dunaföldvár, as a child, Erika Baglyas visited Dunaújváros so often that the town became a permanent childhood location for her.  Personal history became irrevocably entangled with historical connotations of the place („Stalintown”, Kádár-era, etc.) and a conviction of the artist seems to be that political and social systems can mould or transform destinies to an extent where they reach into the present beyond the span of several generations.
The Institution of Contemporary Art (Kortárs Művészeti Intézet), the two-floors exhibition space in Dunaújváros, with its shop-window-like room looking upon the residential block around, the obscure and isolated room and the dark cellar gallery with the flight of stair leading down there all offer an opportunity for exhibited works of art to reveal their content on a palette ranging from the extremely personal to the most estranged identity and to levels totally bereft of meaning. 
The artist tries to establish a connection with pedestrians through her determined and yet hopeful statement displayed in the huge window (‘I would also long for open and clear things, for fresh air and for the sincere surprise triggered by simple sentences.’) while she also sets the direction for her own life and art, declaring an interest in things that are open, clean, fresh, simple, sincere. Erika Baglyas relies upon the strength of everyday expressions, thus she places her drawings, a series of drawings in defense of feminine honor, bearing the title “Maculate” („Makula”), literally in the front window. The room behind the front space is a much more intimate one. Here the artist exhibits the moulds fashioned using left-over copper tubes inherited from her father. The moulds preserve negatives of iconic objects owned by the late father (scissors, knife, screwdriver). The question is what are these moulds intended for and what kind of objects would they yield? Because a pair of scissors created this way would obviously have no cutting edge!
The indigo book is another means to suspend meaning and original functionality: an isolated universe comes to life between its pages, where originals cannot be distinguished from copies, where precedent and consequence melt while the book itself becomes un-writable and illegible. The indigo drawings are seemingly the most pretentious pieces of the entire exhibition, yet the drawing (the line) is a mere copy (indigo traces), designating the lack of the original. The artistic reality of Erika Baglyas is built upon the lack condensed into presence.
The floor of the lower space is covered with thousands of indigo sheets waiting for visitors’ feet to leave traces upon them. This could pass for a collective work of art but can also act as a starting point or raw material for further works.
Z Angles Gallery was created this year in Cluj, nevertheless this very exhibition passes for its opening event.  The establishment sets out as a nomad gallery, wishing to focus energies upon openness and traveling, upon cooperation with artists, professionals and institutions of art, upon establishing connections with novel sections of the public.  Traveling is also settling and discovery – we might call it, borrowing a term from a series of drawings by Erika Baglyas, a ‘quest for the home’.  All our stops in space and time will become our homes, and we will be responsible to keep these homes open and alive.

Sebestyén György Székely

art historian, manager of Z Angles Gallery


Baglyas Erika kiállítása
Baglyas Erika nyersanyagként használja biográfiájának elemeit. A helyek és a tárgyak különösen alkalmasak arra, hogy életének saját idejét megszólaltassák, s tagadva annak vonalszerűségét, a a múlt időt a jelenbe vonzzák. Dunaújváros Baglyas Erika gyerekkorának egyik állandó helyszíne volt, Dunaföldvárról gyakran jártak ide. A személyes történelem és a helyhez hozzátapadó, történeti jelentések („Sztálinváros”, Kádár-korszak stb.) szétválaszthatatlanul összefonódnak, a művész meggyőződésévé válik, hogy a politikai-társadalmi rendszerek generációkon átnyúlva alakíthatnak át sorsokat.
A kiállítás annak a dinamikának a kibontására törekszik, amelyet olyan ellentétpárok határoznak meg, mint: eredeti-másolat, negatív–pozitív, hiány–alkotás. Ezek feszültsége megóvja a műveket az egysíkú olvasatoktól és inkább elgondolkozásra, rákérdezésre késztetnek.
Így például felmerülhet a kérdés, hogy milyen céljuk lehet azoknak a negatív formáknak, amelyeket a művész az édesapa hagyatékából összeszedett maradék rézcsövek beolvasztásával készített, a családfő ikonikus tárgyairól, többek között egy szabóollóról. Hiszen az öntőforma segítségével „reprodukált” olló már nem vágna!
A jelentés átalakulásához és az eredeti funkció kioltásához vezethet az indigó könyv is, amelynek lapjai között egy zárt világ jön létre, amelyben az eredeti és a másolat megkülönböztethetetlen, az előzmény és a következmény is összeolvad, és végső soron a könyv megirhatatlanná és olvashatatlanná válik.
Az indigó rajzok látszólag a kiállítás legmívesebb alkotásai, azonban maga a rajz (a vonal) csupán másolat (az indigó nyoma); így ez is hiányt, mégpedig az eredeti hiányát jelöli meg. Baglyas Erika művészeti valósága a jelenvalóvá sűrűsödő hiányból építkezik.
A kiállításon több mint ezer indigólap várja, hogy a nézők lába nyomot hagyjon rajtuk – így a napról napra alakuló interaktív installáció további művek alapanyagát, kiindulópontját is képezheti.
A kiállítás a kolozsvári Z Angles Gallery –vel együttműködésben jött létre.

Székely Sebestyén György
művészettörténész, a Z Angles Gallery vezetője

A Hiány című réz objektsorozat a Nemzeti Kulturális Alap támogatásával valósult meg. A támogatás formája NKA Alkotói ösztöndíj, Képzőművészeti Szakmai Kollégium, 2o14-ben.