Painting makes up for a major share of Nagy’s pictures.
The abstract brush-marks, set rather loosely, either link or separate the picture elements of the collage. They give the surface of the picture a structure and have an effect on the disposition of the beholder, without necessarily being ‘well-disposed’. What we’re dealing with here are the familiar primary stimuli of our civilization.
Red stands for power, violence, anger, love. Black becomes darker on its way to a black-as-coal surface leading to the depths from which danger can emanate at any time. Yellow is sometimes sunny, but more often it is a warning colour, like a flag symbolizing the plague. White, for its part, is by no means free space as it were. Instead it is a wall which moves in front of unknown actions and hides them from the view of the beholder. Blue has more to do with the English sense of the word than it does with sea-blue or sky-blue. One might even call it ‘night-blue’, but in the sense of an artificiality being lit up by neon signs.
Rarely is the colour a drawing, just as we seldom find anything graphically designed in the pictures. It has mostly to do with painting or a surface.
Some pictures such as the ‚eiskönigin’ resulted from a decollage. With the help of several clarifying artistic additions and by using the remaining structures of the remnants of an adhesive, the figure of a bride appears from the ice-blue nowhere. In the surreal sense of Max Ernst. In other pictures, the structures of intentionally wavy glued materials are done over with pastel circles.
Even Nagy’s abbreviated signature is a structure. It consists of an entangled, scribbled conglomerate of strokes. It’s not a trade mark or part and parcel of her pictures. Instead it’s the illegible final touch to her work. Completion and scribbled end, and a signal to the artist herself. That was it! It is not a point of orientation for the beholder – in the sense of: here’s the bottom corner! – and it is not a stamp for the buyer. The abbreviated signature – almost like a mysterious word which can get the lifeless Golem moving – has no marketing significance. It merely signifies that a new work can now begin.
Just to show that she doesn’t have to rely on the artistic photographic naturalism of pin-up photos for her collages, Erzsebet Nagy SAAR also shows she’s very adept at photo realism. It is here that Nagy is completely withdrawn and has herself and her gestures in check, as is so expressively evidenced by her collages. The focus is always on pictures of women, works based on photographs, drawn in either pastel or charcoal. In some drawings in which the figure is seen in typical sex poses, she makes herself – and we’re talking here mainly about self-portraits – a consumer article for voyeurs.
However, the world of fine art is and remains an object for observers and, in the final analysis, that’s what voyeurs are, too.
© Prof. Gerhard Habarta 2012