Work began on my new Exile Series in response to a call for entries for the Hungarian Painters’ Association fall 2017 juried exhibition entitled Garden of Exile. My entire Exile series was completed at the Bérnecebaráti Artists’ Colony in the early fall; these new works began, as did the recently exhibited Dialogs with Attila József Series, with words.
In this newest series I collected synonyms and words related to exile in both Hungarian and English. Working in the same manner as in the Dialogs series, I inscribed dual, overlapping vocabularies with wet chalks onto the same water-soaked, stitched paper. The words, scrawled in different hues and overlapping in an act of abstract markmaking, fused together to suggest figural forms as the words lost and regained their significance… exile, exodus, exclusion, expulsion, extradition, escape, emigration, expatriation, excommunication, eviction, evacuation, eradication, elimination, extradition, banishment, deportation, displacement, diaspora, dispersion, departure, flight, fugitive, migration, immigration, emigration, out-migration, ostracism, separation, rejection, alienation… and that’s just the English.
The Exile Series reflects a personal exploration of the concept of exile at this very moment in history when definitions of identity and assertions of exclusion rear themselves up in inflamed political contexts and when human beings are yet again being torn, thrust, and thrown asunder as they flee for their lives. Embedded in this theme is of course the resonance of previous world conflagrations and an even more ancient Exodus. The subject of wandering with its many implications and contexts is not a new one for me. The World Encyclopedia International Collaborative Artists’ Project, conceived of and curated by me in 2000, now permanently housed in the Ferencvárosi Historical Museum in Budapest speaks to this theme.
The work continues, responding to the world and to life with the compelling combined power of written and visual language.