László László Révész
Triumphal Arch

1995-96 - video projection

A piece of canvas, measuring 2 x 2.20 metres and cut into the shape of a triumphal arch, is hung from the ceiling at a distance of one meter from the plane of the wall. The bottom edge of the canvas is at a height of 1.90 meters above the floor. A black, homogeneous form "complements" the arch on the wall; the video equipment, which is also hung from the ceiling, projects a computer animation over the arch, which corresponds, both in dimensions and in theme, to the "screen." The recorded material, an approximately two-minute-long and continuously replayed loop, has morphic character and is presented in strong contrasts. The morph always begins with a 3D/CAD structural drawing of a triumphal arch. In the course of the brief (3-4 seconds) transformations and re-transformations, it is this structure that turns into mobile compositions which derive and originate from the associative domain of the ideas of abundance-glory-triumph. These characteristic compositions are primarily the products and fruits of Eastern (Central) Europe, most notably melons, apples, plums and their variations of form. Thus I also diverge from the antique - or pseudo-antique - triumphal arches in the sense that I create a seemingly arbitrary artwork, as opposed to propagandistic (and counter-propagandistic) art, in which I manipulate art's disburdenment of propaganda. In other words, I manipulate that stage of development in the life of Central and Eastern Europeans when the politicization of art - its propaganda - is no longer important, but the "new" keeps us waiting in every domain, or as in my case, emerges as a variant of old forms.

Canaletto: Paesaggio II (postcard)

By way of explication, and also in order to make the interpretation of my work easier, I copy from my diary a travel experience which I went through in the city with the greatest number of galleries.

Debates for the Sake of Debate

In this company it has become customary that, in the interest of enlivening the conversation, the get-togethers were turned into somewhat feigned debates abounding in harsh words. This has always been to my liking, of course. Debate for the sake of debate, this is exactly the kind of thing for which I have recently developed high expectations, withdrawal symptoms, or something of the kind. There is a pinch of scepticism in me, as with an outsider at a party, who criticize and criticize and silicize and silicize... Finally I decided to act, without giving away the game too much. Not wishing to be caught out, I selected a couple of topics, so that any moment when the conversation stalls, I bravely throw them in. First I wanted some contemporary stuff, something along the lines of advertising ethics or minorities, feminism or Michael Jackson's changing colours. But when I spotted R.R., I relaxed; he, too, was an outsider, and at least we had already met once. I told him about my confusion and about the awkwardness (befitting the land where I live) of my behavior and thinking, even mentioning M. Jackson, of all my life-saving topics. This, in turn, cheered him up, to the point where he related an excellent parallel between an anecdote about Zeus and the beautification practices of our age. In the story, Zeus is asked to paint the portrait of Helen for the Temple of Juno in Kortona. Not being able to find a suitable model, he employed five different girls for the job, using different girls for different parts of the body in "fashioning" the ideal, the most beautiful Helen. "What a sampling!" I thought to myself, but sadly I preferred to recompense myself for the missed opportunity to be a nuisance with a cheeky quote from Stendhal: "... antique beauty is irreconcilable with modern passions!" By now R.R. had also lost patience, and started to hurl accusations of historicism at me. Me of all people, who ... Oh, but let's drop it! To accuse me of coming down on the side of the past! Then, taking advantage of my trustfulness, he even went on to make fun of my triumphal arch project, declaring it to be nothing more than a diluted nylon version of Goethe's idea of the "Urpflanze" (Prehistoric plant), dressed up in CAD disguise. With my blood boiling, I left this rampage of incompetence unanswered, my only gesture being the shaking of my fist. And talking about the feeling of injury which overcame me a little while after our encounter, at the place of my hostess - well at least a premonition of this feeling, along with my own helplessness - finally absolved me of the obligations of further socializing. I hastily went into hiding in the ambivalent ambience of the opening of a nearby gallery.

Bas-relief with flower decoration, Ara Pacis Augustea, Rome, 13-9 B.C. (postcard)


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