THIRSTY WELL - Nikolett Balázs's Solo Show at Artkartell projectspace

Thirsty Well - solo exhibition of Nikolett Balázs - Artkartell projectspace, 2022

Photo: Dávid Biró

The solo exhibition of Nikolett Balázs, an artist of the youngest generation of the Hungarian art scene, articulates complex power structures in her textile works. The current selection of the artist’s latest works, entitled Thirsty Well, is a series of dramatic objects and installations that deal with the political and economic attitudes of recent times. How can these power strategies be captured in multilayered, symbolic stories through a sensual and unconventional language?

Nikolett Balázs works mainly with the iconic material of 20th-century women artists, the raw canvas utilised by Ilona Keserü and Marina Abakanowicz, similarly stiffening the crumpled, shaped textile. Nikolett Balázs inhabits the space with her strange sculptures, completing the existing world with a missing, subjective formal order. The rippling folds, which open and close like flowers, intertwine many layers of meaning beyond the symbolism of the feminist vulva, from folkloric tulip motifs to the metaphor of totemic individuality on flayed skin.

The exhibition in Artkartell's projectspace gathers objects around a well, constructed from painted or untreated raw canvas, scrap metal, tile adhesive, pur foam and XPS insulation boards. The works, hung on the wall with a crisp, dry effect, take on an anthropomorphic sense, surrounding the fountain where the life-giving water dries up under oil stains, in a stale vat. The "thirsty well" is an oxymoron, a tank full of tense contradictions where water is out of place. An emblematic nylon foil used in the agriculture of today's farm world leads to the lord of the well, the supreme textile sculpture that – as a deity, the crowned head of the throne room – holds sway over the precious fluid. Around it, a hierarchy of subordinate artworks lines up, with painted elements, shiny shavings, sponges and pipes. In the side storage room next to the main exhibition space – arranged around a sacred water source –, sterile water pouches, extracted from the well, hang from the ceiling just like in a larder. With Thirsty Well, Nikolett Balázs has created a world with a strange atmosphere and enigmatic symbolism, in which subconscious emotions and the idea of the garden play as important a role as the feminist approach, the recycling of objects evoking the rural milieu or the representation of fresh water, namely the power manoeuvres trying to dominate other countries and groups of people.

Nikolett Balázs was born in Debrecen in 1990. She graduated from the painting department of the Hungarian University of Fine Arts in 2015. Since then she has been regularly exhibiting her peculiar abstract objects in the Budapest art scene. From 2019 onwards, she has had solo exhibitions in Budapest every year (2021: Nagyházi Contemporary, 2020: Hybridart Space, 2019: Négyszoba Gallery), but she has participated in several international group shows as well, among others at Arcadia Missa in London and Lateral ArtSpace in Cluj. In 2021, she was simultaneously selected as a finalist for two of the most prestigious Hungarian contemporary art prizes, the Esterházy Art Award and the Leopold Bloom Art Award. She lives and works in Budapest.

— Artkartell

2022. augusztus 06., szombat 21:36
kapcsolódó cikkek

    Artkartell projectspace is happy to announce the exhibition of Zsolt Asztalos: Trauma.