Exhibition „Awkwardly Close”sonda

17th September 2019 - 17th January 2020, Balassi Institute

When an artist comes face to face with the fact that the art of another artist almost entirely resembles his/her own, feelings of unease and discomfort can take over. He examines the works inside his mind, thinks about them, and compares them to each other. The consistently coloured and contrasted aesthetics of computer aided drawing significantly influenced contemporary aesthetics. Can this solely be the effect of graphical programs and their artistic usage? Can the similarity in substance be explained away by the zeitgeist and shared cultural background? The feeling that everything has already been created, and the similarities of context, many times serve as a relief for authors seeking self-justification, so they can freely create, without having to constantly assess their own originality. 

The concept of the exhibition “Awkwardly Close” in Balassi Institute is exactly the self-conscious unease coming from artistic and content similarities between the works of Kata Bereczki, and the Slovenian artistic collective Son:DA. The aesthetical similarities are the result of topics such as classical panoramas, traditional genre paintings and genre pictures in village settings followed by topics from the life of the artist herself; scenes from galleries, exhibition openings and parties in the form of contourless portrays placed in various social interactions, as a kind of urban juxtaposition. One could get the impression that the forerunner of drawing utilising a mouse is the traditional acrylic paintings used in schools, which are in effect similar to the computer aided creations of Son:DA, printed on wallpaper or canvas. 

The Son:DA collective (Metka Golec and Miha Horvat) also focuses on the social interactions in the artistic milieu, and emphasises the spatial objects we take for granted, go  around, or do not even notice at all; an airconditioner, a computer screen, a remote, a wall plug, a cable or a nail. Even so, their constant presence makes them part of contemporary aesthetics. Portraits of people are intertwined with mentioned elements throughout work and everyday life.

At a glance and in content, Son:DA and Kata Bereczki are connected by a similar attitude towards colours and social situations, for example; the portraits of gallery visitors, and the portrayal of the unwritten rules of gallery manners. 

“Awkwardly Close” groups artworks by content and technique. Because of only small differences in style and perspective, visitors have to check for the author of each work of art. The shopwindow of the gallery gives space to the panoramas and genre pictures. The inner space shows scenes from the gallery, thereby holding a mirror to the visitor, who, as a potential buyer is also part of the system of the artistic world. We show parts of the gallery, and the artworks bafflingly similar in technique and content in a deliberately similar manner, to point out the closeness of style and themes of artists who didn’t know each other prior to the organisation of this exhibition.

The intent is to emphasise rather than hide the unease caused by the similarities. At first this disturbs both authors and visitors, however, this is what compels us to stay interested, and, by the examination of differences, to get closer to the visible subject and aesthetics.    


Jani Pirnat