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The Triumph of Hell, Pieter Bruegel 1562

 

In studio update #9 I had promised to dig deeper into the monochromatic work of the 70’s - our work, our life and the exchange of our ideas. I am compelled to change this plan and introduce you to a project I did as a starting artist. It was about returning to the place, where years before Russian tanks with unrelenting force put down The Hungarian Uprising of 1956. I was an eyewitness to that event in the capital; Budapest.

 

In 2022, Russian tanks again have invaded a country, recreating the nightmares for me I had experienced in my early years. After many years of exile - there was an amnesty for those who left during the1956 uprising to return. My reactions during this return prompted me to respond to my emotions to this place which was still under communist Russian occupation. Creating this work was the perfect solution.

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Budapest, 1956

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Ukraine, 2022

The following is original text from the project - which I had written in 1968

“Budapest was in flames when I left in 1956 at the age of fifteen and a half. Alone, I made my way through Austria and Germany to the United States, and by the time I turned sixteen I was in New York. Janos Kadar’s government outlawed the ex-patriots of 1956, and banned their return for years. During that time, I learned to be part of this new world through a difficult and long process; I worked, studied, and became a strong, self aware person in my own right. An artist. I returned for the first time after amnesty lifted the ban in 1968. I found the atmosphere oppressive for a person who has lived in an open society. I had an overwhelmingly claustrophobic response. I turned this into work, an action. I did my first conceptual piece in Hungary. If I put myself on the analyst’s couch in order to recall the reason for this project, I would describe it as follows: My unconscious response to the atmosphere I found in Hungary was to draw a configuration which resembled an
EMBLEM.
Tight in structure, intolerant and aggressive, yet at the same time an appealing device in its overall configuration. The depiction was in chiaroscuro, bright on the high points and shadowed on the lows, simulating a bas relief, emanating self importance, not unlike the communist monolithic state and its symbols. It seemed that my unconscious intent was to make a powerful sign to describe my response to such an environment. As soon as I succeeded in drawing an emblem which captured this emotional state, my next response was to do something dramatically against it. I proceeded with a process of disintegration, and repositioning.”

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