European Association for Jewish Culture 



European Association for Jewish Culture 

Spring-Summer 2002

Personal perspectives

Hungarian artists Laszlo Egyed and Zsuzsa Lóránt combined forces for a joint exhibition of their work at the Bartok 32 gallery in Budapest in April 2002.

Assimilants dissimilants
This was the title Lóránt chose for her show of wood and alabaster sculptures depicting generations of Hungary's Jewish intelligentsia. The exhibition is a selection of recent pieces that chronicle their existence.

The Year of Change, a bas-relief by Zsuzsa Lóránt

The sculptures have evocative titles. One fine sculpture, An Eskimo woman contemplating death, was inspired by a well-known poem by Miklós Radnóti about the cold and hunger during the second world war. The year of change was inspired by a family photograph taken in 1949, when the Communists came to power. It alludes to the looming political changes and shows Lóránt's father still in the military uniform of democratic Hungary, her mother, a committed communist, and the artist as a little girl. Another work, Catafalque, depicts a victim of a Stalinist show trial laid out on a traditional Jewish bier. Little Buddha is an ironic representation of the artist's American brother-in-law, son of East European immigrants.

'I believe that lives are reflected in faces, hands, gestures and clothing. I want to link together the disjointed generations and create a very personal archive of 20th century Hungarian Jewry' said Zsuzsa Lóránt.

The Song of Songs today
The series of charcoal drawings of female and male nudes presented by László Egyed were inspired by his reading of the Biblical text.

The Song of Songs today by  László Egyed

'I wanted to explore the relationship between the sexes through one constant motif: the contrast of black and white, the visible and the invisible, the physical and the spiritual, the filled and empty space on the paper. I feel this alternation between the visible and the obscured provides a metaphor for the life of many secular Budapest Jews, including my own', said Egyed. However, the artist says this is only one way of experiencing his drawings. Egyed does not want to guide the viewers, but hopes that his interpretation will find an echo with some of them.

The large black and white drawings are executed with such mastery of the medium that they appear at first as photographic studies. The artist admits that this is 'faux realism'; his drawings are not true to life. In fact, these figurative works are in some ways close to abstract art.

'I am grateful for the support of the European Association', said Laszlo Egyed. 'But I was disappointed that the antisemitic rhetoric in the run-up to the elections in Hungary meant that the Jewish dimension of the exhibition was ignored by the television and radio stations which interviewed me.'

Zsuzsa Lóránt has had her work exhibited in Berlin, Florence, the Basel Kunstmesse, Istanbul, Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Oslo, Stockholm, Rome and Toronto. Her work is held in the permanent collections of the Hungarian National Gallery, the Budapest Historical Museum in Kiscell, and the Győr János Xanuts Museum.

László Egyed is a painter, graphic artist and film director. He was visiting professor at Bezalel Art School in Jerusalem in 1988. His faux-documentary film. The Man with a Secret won the UNESCO prize in 1996. Recently, he has worked on a series of drawings in the 'omission- fragmentary' style using photo- realism. His work has been exhibited in Hungary, at the Lincoln Center in New York, and in Paris.

Newsletter Home/First grants awarded for Jewish culture/
Ghetto: a life-affirming new ballet/Jingele o Maidele: a dance allegory/Personal perspectives/The Golem comes to life on a Budapest stage/Introducing the grant winners/ Calendar of performances and exhibitions/Grants for 2003