Erika Baglyas (1973, Paks, Hungary) uses elements of her biography as raw material for her art. Places and objects are surprisingly able to express the specific time of her life and, denying its linear nature, to capture the past in the present. As a child, she visited Dunaújváros so often that the town became a permanent childhood location for her. Personal history became irrevocably entangled with historical connotations of the place („Stalintown”, Kádár-era, etc.) and a conviction of the artist is that political and social systems mould and transform destinies to an extent where they reach into the present beyond the span of several generations.
The Institution of Contemporary Art, the two-floors exhibition space in Dunaújváros, with its shop-window-like room looking out onto the surrounding housing estate, the dim and isolated room and the dark cellar gallery with the flight of stair leading down there all offer an opportunity for exhibited works of art to reveal their content on a palette ranging from the extremely personal to the most estranged identity and to levels totally bereft of meaning.
The artist tries to establish a connection with pedestrians through her determined and yet hopeful statement displayed in the huge window (‘I would also long for open and clear things, for fresh air and for the sincere surprise triggered by simple sentences.’) while she also sets the direction for her own life and art, declaring an interest in things that are open, clean, fresh, simple, sincere. Erika Baglyas places her drawings, a series of drawings in defence of feminine honour, bearing the title “Maculate” (“Makula”), literally in the front window. The room behind the front space is a much more intimate one. Here the artist exhibits the moulds fashioned using left-over copper tubes inherited from her father. The moulds preserve negatives of iconic objects owned by the late father (scissors, knife and screwdriver). The question is what are these moulds intended for and what kind of objects would they yield? Because a pair of scissors created this way would obviously have no cutting edge!
The indigo book titled “Alibi” is another means to suspend original functionality: an isolated universe comes to life between its pages, where originals cannot be distinguished from copies, where precedent and consequence melt while the book itself becomes un-writable and illegible. The indigo drawings are seemingly the most pretentious pieces of the entire exhibition, yet the drawing (the line) is a mere copy (indigo traces), designating the lack of the original. The artistic reality of Erika Baglyas is built upon the lack condensed into presence.
The floor of the lower space is covered with more than a thousand of indigo sheets waiting for visitors’ feet to leave traces upon them. This could pass for a collective work of art but can also act as a starting point or raw material for further works.