There’s a curious sight at England’s Thames estuary: it’s the centuries old Tudor jetty at Tilbury Fort, the place where Queen Elizabeth the First gave a stirring speech to her soldiers after the Spanish armada was defeated.
That site’s remarkable murky mud, moving with the moon and wind around this jetty, is anaerobic – that is, nothing decays in it, so whatever has lurked there for centuries is preserved. As UK historian Neil Oliver notes: “It messes with my sense of time.”
The equally curious sight of Hungarian artist Márta Kucsora’s larger-than-life paintings of what appears to be oozing organic matter also messes with your sense of time. Her depictions of earth’s primordial sludge’s patterns of unpredictable navigation give us a feeling of timeless motion, semi-frozen in time.
After her recent successful show in Mücsarnok/Kunsthalle Budapest, Kucsora’s newest exhibition, “Stretch,” in Eger’s historic and spacious Kepes Intézet allows us to bathe luxuriously in her gigantic (440cm x 400cm) cosmic blue abstracts throughout twelve dramatic canvases, arranged into three conjoined groups. Occasionally a feverish orange or bronzed yellow turn up in an aquatic green spectrum in several smaller canvases to stretch us further through the metaphysical magma.
Having experimented with acrylic and oil paints on theatrically oversized canvases for more than ten years, Kucsora lets her elements determine their own course on the canvas without the aid of paint brushes. Her eye catches the precise moment to halt the movement and lock it in, as if the moon’s gravitational pull had determined the moment.
For the full immersion experience, the exhibit’s 18-minute large-resolution analog video installation gives us an oceanic view of the mesmerizing internal energy of the elements in cooperation — a visual journey that’s deeply calming and eerily comforting. The musical soundtrack of wind, a whale, and a choir intoning medieval modes, created by Colin Welch, and videography by Lukács Marton and Welch, is a perfect match for Kucsora’s visual drama.
Budapest curator and museum director Márton Orosz eloquently describes her work as “exploring the vast possibilities of the physical dimension of the paint that possess a psychologically encoded depth, … Kucsora’s canvases invoke the richness and complexity of human emotions, while also revealing the rhythm of the interrupted and uninterrupted processes of the universe and the entropy—the state of disorder—of nature.”
Kucsora’s abstract, gestural creations loom large, but never overwhelm because of their uncanny sisterhood with nature; in this case, though, it’s the nature we can preserve, in tandem with the Tudor jetty. Let these beauties mess with your sense of time.
- Márta Kuscora’a “Stretch” on view until March 14, 2023
- Tue – Sat 10-18h Kepes Intézet, Eger Széchenyi utca 16.
- Appointment: +36 70 225 4736