TitleDorottya Vékony – Average Deviation
Duration27 January 2019 to 17 March 2019
Venueaqb Project Space
|Title||Dorottya Vékony – Average Deviation||Posted In||Exhibition||Duration||27 January 2019 to 17 March 2019|
|Venue||aqb Project Space||Location||
Nagytétényi út 48-50
For Budapest-based, interdisciplinary artist Dorottya Vékony, the concept of the human body, both the physical body we inhabit and our collective body consciousness, is a central theme that she keeps revisiting. It’s threfore not surprising that her latest solo exhibition, Average Deviation at Budapest’s aqb Project Space, is hauntingly populated by images of the human body, both explicit and implict, functioning as primay reflections of our relationship to the world, the environment and ourselves. Vékony’s fundamental medium is photography which she often combines with other disciplines, such as objects, photobooks or video. In this exhibition, the human body is presented in a variety of forms and sizes: oversized coloured projections, small black & white framed photographs, and free-standing cut-outs, which makes visitors all the more aware of each other's bodies.
Curated by Peter Bencze, ’Average Deviation’ aims to make spectators observe and be observed at the same time; it is after all in our human nature to observe one another. It is not just curiosity that drives us but a deep-seated desire to gauge our differences. Only by comparing ourselves to those around us we can define ourselves in reference to a system of norms based on our observations. What we subconsciously want is to reassure ourselves that we are similar to others, that we are better or at least just as good as they are, that we only differ, in other words, from the average on an average scale.
Vékony’s works on display at aqb Project Space explore how we can describe our body in the most objective manner possible and to do so she purposefully avoids any sense of intimacy or hint of sentimentality. Abstract, figurative or matter-of-factly, all the works share an unabashed directness and inquisite sensibility that explore the subtle and complex relationships that our physical bodies forms with our environment, and how social expectations shape our appearance.
Dominating the gallery space with its visceral elegance is Wrestlers (2018-2019), a series of free-standing cut-outs depicting oversized naked bodies wrestling. The choreogtaphed entangle of tense torsos and flexing limbs, locked in dynamic embraces that look like they will roll over at any moment, emanate both sensuality and agressivess. Vékony’s father was an athlete and the artist herself spent 12 years practicing kick-boxing, a time when she had to confront her own feminity vis-a-vis the sport’s masculine culture, making the theme of this installation rather personal.
Quite different in tone but just as evocative is the installation in the adjacent space, a table on top of which a relaxed, naked body seems to be lying waiting for a massage, perhaps after a wrestling match. Created by a black and white printout folded over the table, the body on display is headless like the aforementioned ’Wrestlers’ which further connects the two installations.
As eerie but on a much smaller scale are the black and white photographs from the series When it happened I was there (2018-2019) hanging on the surrounding walls. Depicting a selection of surreal representations of the female body, such as a self-portrait where the face is obscured, a pair of burning high-heel boots, and a statue of a naked woman being washed, the images examine the nature of femininity. Hanging separately, Love Lawn (2017) may not depict an actual body but it was made from male chest hair, a ‘man’s carpet’ so to speak, conceived as a symbol of masculinity and a pledge of attraction.
In the sound installation What is your relationship with your body? (2018), the spectators suddenly become the target of ire and contempt as they listen to people talking about the things they hate about the human body. It’s an uncomfortable experience drawn from Vékony’s own stigmatization due to her “deviating” appearance. Similary “anti-intimate” and as uncomfortable is the video installation where visitors are surrounded by strangers in what seems like a police lineup staring directly at them. Like the artworks before, the installation attempts to nudge spectators out of their comfort zone in order to explore what constitutes - for them - an acceptable average deviation.