Artkartell projectspace presents László Karácsonyi’s solo exhibition titled GOBALIEN. Globalised aliens have settled down in the past smelling of hair-net and grandma’s pantry, and they have found their place among blessings on the house hanging from the wall and porcelain angels.
László Karácsonyi: GOBALIEN
Curated by Gábor Rieder
1 June – 27 July, 2018
Artkartell Projectspace, Budapest
László Karácsonyi (1976) is one of the staple members inseminated by the Young British Artists generation reaching success at the beginning of the millennium acting in the post-conceptual Budapest horror venue. In his latest series he reinterprets an archaic technique, tapestry. Tapestry reproducing classic figures of art history in the language of elegant wall drapes getting its Hungarian name (gobelin) from a royal drape weaver of the 17th century, was originally considered a luxury, but in the course of centuries it had become a cheap ornament of petite-bourgeoisie interiors repeating compositions of well-known paintings in a sphere beyond aesthetics and below aesthetics often simplifying them into tacky commonplaces going as far as being hardly recognizable. Karácsonyi is beginning to treat tapestries decaying in scrap markets and having turned into silt of art history breathing a new life into them using painted or applied accessories. He smuggles alien embryos among massive renaissance leaves and puts a pornographic act figure with an artificial fur dick in a birch forest. He supplements Fragonard’s famous Rococo swinging girls’ heads with a dancing robot spider. The motives filled with testosterone at large are free to walk around – with the haughtiness of adolescents – in prudish homes of decent petite bourgeoisies people, the reality reminding of the atmosphere of the home of grandparents living in Hungarian countryside. In the meantime the elements applied intrude into the image world of German stitches rhyming with digital pixels as aliens’ UFOs. In addition to the series of tapestries Karácsonyi began to create in 2015 he also shows a couple of objects inspired by tacky items.
”If I would like to give an atavistic justification for using tapestries and porcelain figures – says Karácsonyi – I would argue that they used to be basic visual stimuli in the houses of my grandparents in my childhood influencing me in a primary way as quasi artefacts.” My grandma on my father’s side preferred porcelain figures and her vitrine cabinets were full of them, but she also had a few real oil paintings as well. My grandma on my mother’s side decorated the walls with tapestries she herself had embroidered, but the porcelain figures were watching us from the wardrobes. Naturally, we also had some of them at home, on upper shelves of the bookcase and at the top of the TV set. A great drawback of china items was that due to their fragility children could not touch them or play with them much as they were really attractive objects both for the eyes and the hands. In my career as an artist I first dealt with porcelain figures transgressing the don’t touch rule”. Karácsonyi went on to liberate he realm of tapestries from the trap of childhood bans. The best pieces of this programme can be viewed at the exhibition entitled GOBALIEN by Artkartell projectspace.
Exhibition view of GOBALIEN by László Karácsonyi, 2018, Artkartell projectspace
(c) courtesy of the artist and Artkartell projectspace. Photo: Dávid Biró