The architecture of Zalaegerszeg is incredibly inspiring. More specifically, the contrast between communist-era apartments and Baroque-inspired, Neo-Classical hotels and churches is stimulating. The urban decay, the whitewashed concrete, pastel stucco and terracotta tiles have all informed the aesthetic of my series of sculptures, Beings Imagined by a Stranger. While Zala, the environment is reflected in the white mess of my mobiles, the order in which I’ve combined the objects that I’ve gleaned from the streets and second-hand shops reflect citizens I’ve imagined during my stay.
Each sculpture is a being I’ve created that communicates a narrative inspired by the people I’ve seen on the streets of Zalaegerszeg; pots and embroidery represent the old women traversing squares on afternoons, while books and galoshes embody the children I see at the schoolyard on my way to work. The use of expansion foam to bind the objects together solidifies, both physically and conceptually, the imagined beings. The act of binding conjures images of fetish objects of Africa or, more playfully, ruins from Pompeii or even popcorn. Binding also signifies a cathartic act done to do away with a terrible experience and empower oneself.
Portugal and Hungary share many similarities. Aside from the white bungalows, both countries share a history of dictatorship. My grandfather left fascist Portugal in hope of a better life for his children (my mom, the eldest of seven) in Canada. Upon my arrival in Zala, I was reminded of the brutalist buildings of 70s Portugal in my new home’s stern apartments of the 80s. It is this comparison that inspired my decision to bind the reclaimed material; I wanted to address my parents immigrant experience while simultaneously saluting the Hungarian people. I think by having the beings suspended, I’ve not only completed the process of catharsis on a personal level, I’ve also “released” the beings I’ve created from resentment and nostalgia. The clutter and whiteness of the sculptures at once reflect both ruin and hope.