8 December 2023 – 3 February 2024

Ani Molnár Gallery

Puppet and Gravity
Solo exhibition of Tamás Waliczky
Curator: Anna Szepesi, art historian

Opening: 7 December 2023, Thursday, 6 pm
Opening speech: Zsuzsanna Szegedy-Maszák, art historian

On view: 8 December 2023 – 3 February 2024

Before a group of mere skin and bone men surround and eat Péter Földes' overeaten protagonist in the 1974 animation ’Hunger’, we witness a long scene where he disorientingly falls. Trusting in the healing powers of pills, the male figure, who lies down in the hope of recovery, closes his eyes, but instead of resting, he falls out of bed in his sleep and is pulled down by gravity. As he falls, his body twists in all directions in front of us, sometimes his head is up, sometimes his feet down. The spinning exposes every inch of the nude man’s body to our view. The film tells a story: it has a beginning, middle and end, and a serious moral message about the unfair distribution of earthly goods.

Waliczky's puppet, on the other hand, is not the ’protagonist’ of a story, but of a state, who tosses and turns endlessly as long as the computer software that simulates the rotation of the puppet's confined space, a metal box, is running. The fall caused by gravity is not the result of the protagonist's actions. It is as if we see that, despite our own attempts to take control of our lives by shaping them, our environment is driven by forces larger than ourselves, forces in which we have no control. We ultimately fall, stagger and bump.

Most of the animations in this exhibition can be seen by the public for the first time, although three of them were presented in Pécs during the LOKART Festival last summer. Waliczky, who has experienced the institutionalisation of new media art in real time, says that he feels it is important to create in certain classical genres, without depriving the technique or medium of its own characteristics. In the works shown here, we can recognise landscape, self-portrait and still-life-like depictions. But with a computer, you can only make computer art. Waliczky not only voted for medium-specificity, as he stated in his manifesto of '89, which is still valid today, but his artworks are also a function of the changing and expanding possibilities of the medium.

For Waliczky, human vision is an infinite subject, and in his oeuvre he repeatedly analyses and reconstructs the possible ways of our visual perception and makes it comprehensible to us through the mechanics of existing or imagined cameras. His choice of technique is autobiographical, as is his choice of subject matter, be it a self-portrait in a cap, the environment in which he creates, or a stripped-down computer animated puppet bearing the basic physical characteristics of the creator.

Zsuzsanna Szegedy-Maszák

Photos by Péter Drapkó