59. Biennale – Zsófia Keresztes

Venezia - 21/04/2022 : 27/11/2022

Zsófia Keresztes rappresenta l'Ungheria alla Biennale di Venezia col progetto After Dreams—I Dare to Defy the Damage.


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Zsófia Keresztes
After Dreams—I Dare to Defy the Damage
April 23–November 27, 2022

Hungarian Pavilion at the Venice Biennale
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National commissioner: Julia Fabényi
Curator: Mónika Zsikla
Organizer: Ludwig Museum—Museum of Contemporary Art, Budapest

Zsófia Keresztes puts on display her new, multi-sculpture installation in the Hungarian Pavilion that she created specifically for the 2022 Venice Biennale 2022. Her work deals with the stages in one’s search for identity. Its concept reaches back to Schopenhauer’s porcupine dilemma

This metaphor was frequently used by the philosopher, and later by Freud and exponents of modern psychology, as a way of conveying the nature of intimacy. A human, as a social being, is incapable of living alone, and so constantly seeks others with whom to share thoughts, feelings and love. The exhibition takes as its associative starting point an episode from Antal Szerb’s 1937 novel Journey by Moonlight, when the protagonist arrives in Venice on honeymoon, he sets off alone to discover the mosaics of Ravenna, hoping to rekindle memories of his childhood. The porcupine dilemma fits in perfectly with the story of the novel: the relics of past cultures make the protagonist realise not only that individuals derive their self-identity from their own social and cultural background, but also that one’s present is unavoidably built upon the fragments of the past. This exhibition does not paraphrase the events in the novel, but utilises as a poetic analogy the protagonist’s mystical experience of seeing the mosaics, in particular that moment when his sense of wholeness is shattered and his previously unchallenged worldview is called into question. It is through suffering doubt that a person grows able to confront his or her constantly changing self. The exhibition, in four larger units, explores both the ambivalent relationship between past/present and future, and the stages by which people map out their own identity. Liberated in each other’s reflection from the burdens of common and individual experiences, the mutually referenced body fragments—separate yet existing as one community—attempt to achieve their final form.

About Zsófia Keresztes
Zsófia Keresztes was born in 1985 in Budapest, where she lives and works currently. She graduated from the Painting Department at the Hungarian University of Fine Arts in 2010. During her university years she experimented with shifting the image plane into 3D, then created textile architectures. After her graduation, she experimented with the formability of paper, her installations were mostly determined by their ephemeral character. However, the year 2016 brought change in her art: she found the material of polystyrene, which has become the basic material of her sculptures ever since, as well as the glass mosaic that forms the shell structure of the sculptures. During this period, a more abstract and amorphous body forming characterized her works, related to the stations of personality formation and the mapping of experiences that shape them.

In the art of Keresztes, the complex and plastic system of iconographic shapes melting into each other, is paired with the formal language and references of the Millennials. Her works can be interpreted as embodied mosaics that uniquely combine sensuality and virtuality, analogue and digital, real and surreal: creating an archaic, yet extraordinarily contemporary visual language, they revolve around the issues of subjective self-identity. As an outstanding talent of her generation, she has participated in numerous international solo and group exhibitions and biennales in the past years.

Location: Pavilion of Hungary, Giardini della Biennale, Venice

Press contacts
Gabriella Rothman T +36 20 3314033 / [email protected]
Zsuzsanna Fehér, T + 36 30 6190710 / [email protected]

High-resolution images and press release can be downloaded here.

Supported by Hungarian Ministry of Human Capacities.