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István Antall: What Underlies Space
The Analytical Sculptures of Borbála Szanyi


Experience embodied, i.e. experience torn out of space, does not enthuse Borbála Szanyi, which is rather odd for a sculptor. She grills her material with such resolution and profundity that she turns sculpture into a matter of the philosophy of being, and she goes about this without building theories ‘reaching up into the sky’, attaching misty ideologies to her sculptures. If one jumps for shadows, he will scramble back to his feet with empty hands. Yet this stunningly authentic and characteristic artist, even when touching nothing, turns out something. She extends the limits of the utterable to the unformulatable, turning optical experience into object, leaning a shadow against a wall, putting stairs, or, should you wish, staircases into boxes, indenting together palm-sized natural shapes, building a cathedral out of the ruins of the human body, piercing coins into space and growing them into the cupolas of church towers. And she does so by putting the most traditional materials of sculpture in quotation marks and raising them out of the customary. She does not destroy convention, only erodes them meekly. Borbála Szanyi knows precisely well, or, rather, senses with her entire personality (i.e. she lives it), that it is not sculpture as such that is important but existence, the eternal, or, if you wish, nature’s experience of being. This is why her works do not have problems with style, because she cultivates the rustic, constructivism or even classicization with a matchless naturalness, a valid modernity. Thereby concept creates unity in diversity. A concept that experiments with materials and forms not by suggesting doubts, but by demonstrating acceptable and workable plastic solutions. She builds fullness out of her torsos; the sensibility of bodies does not become affectation; plasticity goes way beyond simple representation; the lyrical has a dramatic power, and is thus not softened; the signs of want arouse the worrying ideas of fullness. She does not evoke the experiences of the forms the human body or nature stumbles upon, the conservation of historical finds, but reinterprets them by filling them with new poetry. We might believe that the sculpture of Borbála Szanyi places itself outside the bounds of the profession, far from it! By her attitude and spirit, she creates a radically new and authentic world from within, the support of which creates a static construction that is hardly cold, but a convincing stability.

2009.



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