Artist-in-Residence @ MQ Vienna, August 2017: Zsófia Szemző

The hungarian artist Zsófia Szemző is this month’s Artist-in-Residence at Q21 / MuseumsQuartier.

Zsófia Szemző is living and working in Budapest and lived in Paris 2008-2012. She is investigating ways of storytelling and is researching different ways of narration in human interaction. She develops her projects mostly with drawings. In her PhD she is researching ways of engaging the public in participatory practice. She studied 2003–2008 at Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design Budapest and 2008–2009 ENSCI, Paris Mastère Spécialisé en Création et Technologie Contemporain, with the bursary of the French State. In 2013 she started her PhD at the University of Fine Arts, Budapest.

I would like to work on a series of drawings, that will depict the river Danube, and it’s water regulation and possibilities what if it would have run elsewhere? I am aware that the distance between Vienna and Budapest is relatively small, but this distance is changing constantly in all other senses, thru out history and even so now. I would like to travel to Vienna by boat. I would like to measure this distance in my mind and test these changes in real life. If possible I would like to find a family that would adopt me for a week, to learn from them. I would like to discover stories of escape on the river. Stories of the river under ice. Stories of in what case people decided to move to Vienna from elsewhere and for what reason?

For the time being, parallel to this Wien based Danube examination, I would like to focus on working on my current project a series of mostly drawings, and photographs and installations, porcelain and clay objects. I will continue to process data and phenomena that deal with side effects of human actions, and possibilities of mending broken situations, as for example a rabbit species that were introduced in New Zealand, which have no natural enemies there, so they have run wild and eroded the local vegetation.

I will collect these spoilt situations and also successful human solutions, where humans fix broken things by tinkering, such as when we mend a broken chair by instead putting in a leg, we apply a walking cane, or when we apply a rubber band on our pants when we have a torn button. I will show the contradiction that is present between the ideal situations imagined by man, and the modalities of implementation of these ideas. From river engineering to hair-dyeing, from blockflat neighbourhoods to orthopaedic shoes, from divided areas of cities, to changing borders of countries.
I see the Kintsugi technique, from Japan, as a powerful predecessor to my aim, where broken objects are mended with gold, so the fact that they have been broken gives them even more value, it indicates that they are present since a longer period of time, and have overcome misfortune, have become more, not less.”