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REMAINS FROM INTERCISA (2007)
Photo Gallery_
PAINTING AS REVELATION - Interview with Zsuzsa Moizer
réna
tilos rádió, tiaramagazin.hu
2008

Zsuzsa Moizer graduated from the Hungarian University of Fine Arts as a painter in 2004. Her work enchants us with its instinctiveness, sensitiveness, and personal touch. Her drawings, aquarelles, paintings always represent the paintress herself, they speak about her inner struggles and the conflicts discovered in her own personality. Her exhibition opened on 29th November in the Deák Erika Gallery with the title "Remains from Intercisa."

 

Every one of your images features a woman figure, sometimes doubled. It is impossible not to recognise you in these figures. Why do you always paint self-portraits?

 

My conscious work in fine arts started with my diploma work. I started to deal with themes that are close to my life, my personality, my body at the end of my third, at the beginning of my fourth year. By the fifth year it had become clear that the best way of expressing myself is the self-portrait, and we can only say anything about the world if we know ourselves. The self-portrait motif has been a part of my work ever since, my face or my body is present in every picture in some form.

 

In your 2004 series you used passion stories from the Middle Ages as raw material. There you imagined yourself in the place of martyrs. Is it also a part of self-knowledge?

 

Although I try to be conscious in my work, I often listen to my intuition. There are topics that just come of their own accord. They aren't rational, but the way I realise them, the form and the technique are absolutely rational. The theme of Middle Age martyrs came of itself: I read many different things while I was writing my diploma work, among them a story about Febronia's death, which moved me a lot. In the 1200s, they wanted this Christian woman to marry a Muslim man, which meant that she should have had to deny her faith. Risking her life, she said no, so she was tortured: her arms, legs, and breasts were cut off, and, of course, she died. This story horrified me, but at the same time it touched me to see how strong one's faith can be.

Immediately after this experience, I made a series about the first female suicide bomber. The word "shahida" came to be used after her 1998 suicide bombing, as a female counterpart to "shahid." For me, these two stories are connected in the question of faith. Of course it is not the religious content that moved me but the faith itself.

 

Even if it is close to fanaticism?

 

I do not agree with fanaticism under any circumstances, but strong faith, the fact that someone is ready to sacrifice her life for a cause had a very profound effect on me. I found it worthy of making a series about it.

 

These pictures are very poignant, still I had the feeling that you did enjoy the brutal, flesh-cutting representation of violence and suffering. Beyond the admiration of faith, there is a dose of masochism or attraction to the representation of suffering in us.

 

I am often asked whether I experienced similar events or anything that induced me to make so brutal paintings, but my answer is a definite "no." This is painting, not my life. I have to add that it was not exhibitionism that drove me, even if there are artists who would like to do something sensational when they are young. In my case it is rather a matter of the fact that after finishing my university studies I was not in a particularly good humour.

 

You place your portrait in different modes of existence. Animal life, plant life, Middle Age passion stories, and now, in your last exhibition, you place yourself into different objects: urns, bowls, all sorts of religious sacrificial objects. While doing so, you deconstruct the human body and visualise suffering.

 

My aim is not visualising suffering. When we see blood in a picture, suffering and pain come naturally to our minds. People see blood when their body is injured, and injury involves pain; the sight of blood is connected with pain, suffering, and death in this sense. But if we begin to think about it, we find that blood means life, as it would be impossible for us to live without the flow of blood. In this exhibition, I visualised my thoughts about my own existence and my own memories. These are objectified bodies: urns, jugs, bowls are used to contain the earthly remains of humans, but here they symbolically condense their memories. The body of humans is a sort of receptacle, which contains feelings, events, joy and sadness, and this is what I put into my pictures.

 

Aren't you afraid of being unveiled? Your pictures are so personal, so intimate that it is obviously yourself that you open up in them.

 

I used to have such feelings but one has to overstep them. Every exhibition is a sort of unfolding. I believe in such pieces of art that can touch the other human being, I think this to be an important aspect of good pieces. I do not necessarily think of "great" emotions, only of the moment where the spectator can sense something about the artist who made those pieces. At the beginning, of course, I also had ambivalent feelings, such things as "those who see the exhibition see me, my feelings, my face, my body"-and this is a curious thing.

 

You said who didn't have a real ideal, but you were mostly inspired by women's fates. Your pictures often make me think of Frida Kahlo, who had a hard life and who was a fantastic painter...

 

Frida Kahlo's art was a programmatic painting that was inspired by her own life. I think no woman had done such a thing before her. Her whole oeuvre is about the fact that her life and her art were absolutely united.

 

Do you think that women artists are in a more difficult situation than men?

 

I don't know what it is like to be a man. But I would not believe the statement that a woman is in a worse situation than a man in this profession. It may be more difficult to carry out this strenuous work, which I think I will be doing as long as I live, if you have other goals as well. Then you need a supportive environment: a partner, a family. This is a solitary profession, and I cannot imagine now what it will be like when I have children. I've had periods when I didn't work for months and in these periods I felt sick in the literal sense of the word. Artists have the gift of being able to write the bad things out of themselves. If we are not occupied with ourselves, the creative process still provides a sort of excretion. If there is a pause, it's difficult to cope. That is what keeps me working.

 

 

Translated by Bálint Szele