“Oh, and the night, the night …”¹
Rainer Maria Rilke
For a long time now I have encountered Katalin Mózes’s works, always unexpectedly but at predestined crossroads or junctures of existence. The experience of these encounters has always been memorable, bearing a living relevance to everyday life and having a true impact on it. It has accompanied me, mellowing and altering the expanse of my thinking. I feel the calling of the already familiar works, their potential new reading, yet one aspect outweighs every other. It is the intensity with which the motifs – immutably present since the very first works – shine through again and again; at times this intensity subtly emerges, combined with profound delicacy and fragility, in her new compositions: in paintings, collages, montages, at times in only palm-sized graphic sheets, box works and sculptures.
The quality-components of Katalin Mózes’s works suggest the presence of a great artist shaping her works with powerful creativity on a sweeping scale. The understanding and appreciation of her art require our willingness to traverse an intellectual and spiritual expanse drawing on a wide range of sources but those willing to make the effort will find doors opening into ontological realisations.
Entering the ever-expanding landscape of her works takes us into the realm of our personal emotions and experiences, our hurts and joys, our desires and doubts. We find ourselves in a productive and fertile milieu: we start creating new inner images, which are measured against the statements and questions of the recipient’s own world. In this situation – where a dialogue is sparked between various pictorial worlds and modes of existence – the opportunity to approach the Whole opens up. The artist’s need to attain wholeness coupled with her open horizon leads to her commitment to what is unavoidable: to uncover and name the interwoven secrets of existence, life and passing. Manifest in her works is the importance of the undelayable act of taking stock, executed by the artist through a break of silence that was barely possible after the traumas of the century we left behind. In his foreword to a volume of English translations of János Pilinszky’s poems, Ted Hughes wrote that people can reach the Truth representing the almightiness of the God of absence and deficiency through the most elemental path: through what we suffered and still suffer from, and through the objects that partake in this suffering.² Katalin Mózes draws up a lean list of elemental life situations and objects in her works: transience, fragmentation, randomness, borderline situations, groups of lonely or hesitant people, standing or sitting, who are torn away from their safe environment, paper dolls, broken porcelain figurines, details of faces, eyes, creature reminiscent of animals, scraps of newspapers with word fragments and letters, forgotten objects, buildings, geometrical forms ̶ oh, and the angels, the angels. Her inventory of existence is pulsating on the robe of the Night. However, the all-enveloping symbolic darkness in her large-scale paper works and canvases is not black! Night is not pitch-dark sightlessness, nor is it a maze from where no one returns, or a bottomless Moloch’s throat. In Katalin Mózes’s art I see night as dawn, a meditative state of preparation and the sphere in which the fertile feminine essence moves. The creative gesture in her works emerges out of a dark background and lifts details of our fallible everyday lives, awaiting redemption, up into the light. Keeping vigil with her through the night of contemplation, the miracle can take us by surprised and embrace us with its magic. Goldberg variations in pictures.
“Art does not reproduce the visible but makes visible,” proclaims Paul Klee in his visionary manifesto.³ Katalin Mózes’s painting is a kind of sacred exercise, the daily rite of making things visible, a newly forming liturgy in a world that has lost its spiritual roots. Her painting is the untiring act of taking stock of phenomena and situations amidst which we live and moving those objects in focus that are passing through the Stations of the Cross with us. It is re-creation and the conception of a new tradition. In her works an uncommon gaze looks out at the world, us and herself: tough, compassionate, keeping a distance and loving all at the same time ˗˗ a pair of eyes evoking Rilke’s angels.
Katalin Mózes’s works can bring us closer to our innermost self. Growing mature along the road she herself passed through, perhaps we will be called by our only and true name. Awoken to a true life through grace, we might encounter our self-image.
curator of the exhibition