Interview: Eniko Czigany
Luca Curci talks with Eniko Czigany during the 16th Edition of VENICE INTERNATIONAL ART FAIR 2022, at Palazzo Bembo.
Eniko Czigany is a visual artist born in Hungary, where she lives and works. After fine artist workshops and graduation from Hungarian Fine Art Academie, she has worked in Cartoon Studio for 15 years. After many years spent as a freelance graphic designer and interior designer, she finally returned to her original profession and passion, drawing and painting. During all this time she made her sketches for the series “On The Road” which are pencil drawings on black photographic board. Her main area of interest is already outlined here; nature, the aesthetics of the way man leaves his trace on the Earth; focusing on the geometry drawn on the landscape by human activity and its interaction of light or indeed with lack of light… In her earlier paintings, she still used subtle tonal colors to express how she sees our world until one solo exhibition opening (2007 „Caput Mortuum” Jokai Club, Budapest) mentioned, that her paintings are almost independent of colors – due to the richness of brush trace which is so alive and talkative. After long experimentation, she came to the point where she currently paints her visions in clear, monochrome images. At this time, the two years spent in Switzerland (2016-2018) were a significant milestone in the creation of the painting, and her monochrome painting was slowly reduced to black and white images. (And sometimes the vibrant red appears…) In the meantime, smaller watercolors are made, which, like all of Czigany’s work, depict and study phenomena that are interesting to her consistently, but from multiple approaches. In her art, she almost always creates in series, which enables her to show her subjects analytically and from multiple perspectives. She has some conceptual works which made for specific spaces or prepared for a thematic exhibition. For instance in 2005 “Ready! Fire! Factory!” Tűzraktár, Budapest – where the artworks had to reflect on the interior of an old factory building, or in 2011 I. International Drawing and Graphic Biennal, Esterházy Palace, Győr – for which she created a spatial composition using her pencil drawings on blackboard.
Monochromatic. Strictly speaking, one pure, unmixed color on each canvas. Nonetheless, through a reduction in the use of color, the picture becomes more, not less, what was once obscured by color, becomes visible through different textures. The images unwrap themselves from the fine mesh of the brush strokes, appearing as a playful, geometric strip of charming hills or the waves on a windswept cornfield on a dark night. The first rays of the sun at dawn or the last at sunset without colors or tones become visible in these paintings. I intend to make it even simpler through more sophisticated details.
These pictures are only truly capable of being discovered in space. From a distance, we see only single-colored canvases. Stepping closer, however, the picture reveals the spider’s web fine woven lines of the brush strokes, and, slowly, the paintings unfold. Every centimeter’s movement by the observer before the painting results in new details flashing up and others fading and by this interaction the painting becomes complete.
Luca Curci – What are your thoughts while you paint? Do you have any habits or rituals while you work?
Eniko Czigany – I envision the final picture that I am painting. I almost always paint while listening to music, in a meditative and very focused state.
LC – What are you currently working on?
EC – On other pieces of the “Brother Sun, Sister Moon” series, and also on a new series, which will have pieces, painted with aquarelle as well.
LC – How is being an artist nowadays?
EC – It’s not easy… when people have stressful everyday lives, it’s harder for them to unwind and turn to the beauties of life and art.
LC – Do you use art to express something in particular? Is it your medium of expression?
EC – My artworks are dance on the border of abstract and figurative art – I would like to depict otherwise colorful phenomena without the use of color, thus trying to stimulate people for a deeper observation in order to discover the story behind the paintings. The world around us is overwhelmed with stimuli by vibrant colors and impressions. Reducing colors to one is my way to express things as simply as possible and I hope my pictures encourage people to slow down and contemplate. I completely identify with Rothko’s words; “…painting a picture… is a communication about the world to someone else.” So, it’s not about me or self-expression.
LC – Did your style change over the years? In which way?
EC – On the one hand yes, it has changed a lot, I haven’t started with monochrome paintings. This is a result of a long development process. Reducing colors – in this case to one – is the current stage I’m at and I see lots of further opportunities to explore in terms of monochrome painting. Although who knows, maybe I’ll return to painting in color one time, the temptation is certainly there. On the other hand, there are things never change – for instance, my analytical, interpretive approach.
LC – What do you think about the concept of this exhibition? How did it inspire you?
EC – The concept is a hit. To be presented at a world-famous location is a huge pleasure and a great opportunity.
LC – What is the message linked to the artwork you have shown in this event? How is it connected to the theme of the entire exhibition?
EC – The future has already irreversibly begun. What we see around us – the landscape of the future – is fluid in its changes. The human activity draws geometric shapes on the skin of the Earth or to the contrary, strip it down to its naked self. Humans arrange plants in straight rows, then the wind comes and raffles them as it pleases, thus creating a constant interaction between man and nature. This constant interaction leaves a mark on the land and that is exactly what I like to capture from an aesthetic perspective. The black paintings on display tell a story about light and dark and their interaction. These have a strong connection to the other theme of the Fair, “Body and Space”. The inspiration for these comes from a Jazz Club in Zürich that I had been visiting often during my time there. The interior of this Club has black walls, with lots of black velvet drapes. The musicians always wore black clothes, so only their faces, hands, and the instruments, on which they were playing were in the light. This ambiance with the mysterious jazz music and the trips from the Jazz club to home during dark nights were the experiences that sparked the creation of this series.
LC – What do you think about ITSLIQUID Platform?
EC – It is a golden opportunity to show our artwork on an extensive, international level.
LC – Would you suggest a collaboration with us? What do you think about our services?
EC – The collaboration went well, the friendly and passionate people made the process smooth and hassle-free.
LC – Do you think ITSLIQUID GROUP can represent an opportunity for artists?
EC – Absolutely, that goes without saying.