Latent Element

Exhibition of Kamilla Szíj

Budapest Gallery

1036 Budapest, Lajos utca 158. (ground floor)

9 December 2022 – 12 February 2023


Nikolett Erőss


8 December 2022 (Thursday), 6 pm

Opening speech by:

Tibor Várnagy


József Tasnádi

Lighting engineering:

András Tóta

Graphic design:

Flóra Pálhegyi

The exhibition is but a single line, as it were, which is a bit of an understatement, albeit not incorrect. This line traverses the space, and for a long while nothing seems to happen in the successive rooms, which is enough to arouse suspicion: we must have missed something.
The line is visible, but reality gives way to the invisible, which is truth. For this to happen, attention, deceleration, time is required. Finally, after this postponement, the line breaks loose in the last room, multiplied and transmuted into drawings.
Kamilla Szíj is a drawer, the line is her tool. In her work, she forms lines following a certain conceptual order, creates structures and rules, and follows the evolution of the forms that are born out of these rules, interpreting the evolving order in the process of drawing.
The line running through the space is a radical reduction by which she directs our attention to a single phenomenon, the invisible that emerges from behind the spectacle. For, paradoxically, it is there, flickering right before our eyes. The line that appears static is actually moving. It probably does so at other times, as we know from Heraclitus or quantum physics, but this movement is only visible under very special circumstances – such as an exhibition.
Between the line and its shadow lurks the unknown. It is the domain of hypotheses, filled with scientific ideas, explanations of the world, intuitions, visions – and much more. Art is at home here. A hundred years ago one of the best-known artists and theorists of early modernism, Kazimir Malevich, named the thing that generates the changes inevitably occurring in art the “additional” – or latent –element that subverts the prevalent rules and then becomes dominant in the new order. Owing to its motive nature, which is a constant in accelerating time and which has been described multifariously by many, it is difficult to grasp, it is something that can rather be sensed than known. Latent elements alternate, resistance becomes normality, and then something new intrudes again: so does everything remain in motion. It is this process that Kamilla Szíj examines with sensitive attention – the dynamics of resistance and of being organised into structures, the unfolding of the invisible present: the workings of the latent element.

“Latent” element is an interpretative translation by Éva Forgács, Hungarian translator of Malevich’s treatise on Suprematism titled The Non-Objective World (Tárgy nélküli világ, Budapest: Corvina, 1986). In the German edition (Die gegenstandslose Welt, Mainz: Florian Kupferberg Verlag, 1980), which is the basis of the translation and which follows the Russian original, the word “additional” is used, as in the English editions (e.g. The Non-Objective World, trans. Howard Dearstyne, Chicago: P. Theobald, 1959).