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THERE IS ANGEL (2005)
Photo Gallery_
THERE’S PAINTER - – THE EXHIBITION OF ZSUZSA MOIZER
István Hajdu
Magyar Narancs, Year XVII. Issue 40. 2005. p. 33.
2005

Whether it is the song that writes the poet or the poet that writes the song, whether it is the painting that creates the painter or the painter that creates the picture I do not know; but is it sure that with her self-portraits, Zsuzsa Moizer tries to create herself (in a literal, not in the bombastically worn-out sense) continuously, in a most desperately lyrical way. It seems that her portraits are not analytical; rather, they seem to be investigating an alteration in relation to a general human picture, the ever-changing chances of multiplying and repeatedly exposing a single face. Her paintings do not look for and fix the character or the features of a physical existence, Moizer does not enter a narrative relationship with the world or with herself, but she does-what?-with an "agreed," mechanically constituted "frenological" formula, a well-practised and obstinate scheme of a face, which is not permissible with itself at all. What she does is not experiment, like Artaud or Arnulf Rainer, she does not line up permutations following the icon painters or Javlensky, she does not seek self-mortification in a choice of roles like Ilka Gedő, but she does as if she were a child, who is the subject and object of her paintings at the same time, or rather as if she were the composer Shoenberg or the Finnish paintress, Helene Schjerfbeck (who is unknown in Hungary), who painted their own faces innumerable times shortly before their deaths. Her pictures are interwoven and tamed-even made melancholic-by a floating "post-symbolist" lyrical subjectivism, which is much more cruel than sincerity as it suggests that Zsuzsa Moizer is irreversibly interested in her distant I-picture (which is apparently coming nearer and nearer), and this radiating curiosity renders even the extremely fine, just-almost indicated, clean auto-destruction, which does not deny pain but defies it directly, quite "forgivable." The thin, water-colour-like flesh-coloured paints of the big, larger-than-life faces that are cut like masks, and the projected-on bright, cold-white or the naturalistically bloody, character-forming stains make the formation an individual and absolutely autonomous gesture in contemporary Hungarian fine art.

There is Angel-the exhibition and many pictures got this title as an unpunctuated, unfinished sentence. These words open on an enigmatic spaciousness; it is a strong upbeat, of which the linguistic power is less important in this case than its blurred symbolism. The "levelled" portraits, despite their softness, do not help the onlooker: we do not know for sure if we are looking at a female or a male face, all we feel is that the regards and features almost sunk in a cataleptic trance or the closed eyelids cover an effusive deep despair, a thick sadness-maybe due to the recognition (or misunderstanding) of the Angelic Salutation. Zsuzsa Moizer's series of unmoving and very similar faces-if I see and understand it well-uses repetition as a tool of getting into a trance, and trance as a tool of urging repetition. As far as the essence is concerned, it is different from, but, from a point of view, also akin to Antonin Artaud. Artaud used automatism and repetition to achieve a condition of real trance, and his pieces-in this respect-belong to the field of psychedelic art. The self-portrait series of Zsuzsa Moizer, on the other hand, are not automatic-maniacal pieces, carrying their creator into a trance, but literally the documents of an effort at strict observation and the painful creation of a self-scheme, a self-justification. ("The invasive duty of self-observation: if somebody else is observing me, I must observe myself too, but if nobody else is observing me, I must observe myself even more meticulously"-notes Franz Kafka in his diary on 7th November 1921.)

The stories enclosed in the eyes of the portraits, that is the episodes of a peculiar and extremely cruel legendary is illustrated in a dozen of water-colours (in the very badly-organised exhibition) from one or two years earlier. Woman martyrs, stigmatisation, torture and blows of fortune; the duality of faith and faithlessness dissolved in a mystical longing-it is impossible to say whether also in real personal experience-, a horrible desire and the horror of desire cry out of the sheets, painted with strong gestures, and an intelligent and at the same time sincere eclecticism. The pieces also undeniably fit the line that was developed by Mária Chilf, Mariann Imre or Kinga Hajdú. I think of the modern renaissance of the heart-symbolism that has apparently had a strong influence on Zsuzsa Moizer, and that is inseparable (or, here, seems to be so) from martyry, but can and does only appear as a cold vision.

It is probable, or rather increasingly certain that with her (self)-portraits Zsuzsa Moizer was able to close down her "ideological" period of searching for an identity, which cherished the eternal female condition of being hurt as a mythotheme, and finds her visions in a much more real sight, herself, instead of the bleeding Saint Febronia.

 

Translated by Bálint Szele

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