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Indepth Arts News:

"Éva Monika Horváth: Associations - When a Fish is Not a Fish and Other Dream Interpretations"
2002-10-03 until 2002-10-17
Secco Gallery
Budapest, , HU Hungary

They may confound, disturb, shock or titillate you, but paintings by Éva Monika Horváth definitely do not bore. Horváth’s one-woman exhibition at Budapest’s Secco Gallery, is titled Associations, a loose reference to "free association", the psychotherapist’s time-honoured tool. Dr. András Veér, a respected psychiatrist and vice minister in Hungary’s Department of Health, will open the exhibition. The theme invites viewers to make their own interpretations of Horváth’s dream-like visions, many of them blatantly sexual.

At first glance, many of Horváth’s paintings appear to be landscapes, but spend enough time with each piece and they will transform before you. The road or path, a recurring image in her work, becomes a female form. Or is it male? As with Eastern philosophy’s Yin and Yang, Horváth’s phallic and vaginal images are often symbiotically merged.

There is something deeply primal about these erotic landscapes. From the beginning of civilization the earth has been the mother, a symbol of fertility and abundance, worshipped in ancient times as the womb of all life. Horváth does not shy from expressing her reverence to the Great Goddess. In many of her paintings the female vulva is as predominant as a vase of flowers would be in a typical still life.

Female sexuality is not an easy subject for many, and some of Horváth’s "in your face" depictions may cause viewers to blush. But therein lies the importance of this work. Working from her subconscious, Horváth explores and courageously commits to canvas emotions and thoughts that are there within all of us but rarely see the light of day.

This psycho-mumbo-jumbo aside, much of the work can be taken simply as decorative abstracts. Horváth utilizes a somewhat pleasing palette, with magenta, peach, azure and chartreuse often placed in a field of earthy browns, olives and black. The exhibition also includes a series of pastels, similar in theme but with more muted colors and a typically softer focus than the oils on canvas.

While Horváth has participated in many exhibitions this is her first one-woman show at a commercial gallery. In Hungary’s male dominated art world Horváth’s explorations of female sexuality have kept her on the fringes, or beyond. Not the first artist to continue working despite a lack of "popular" appeal, at least she is in good company.

The Secco Gallery, open daily from 11-6 p.m., is located at Hess András tér 5, in Budapest’s Castle District directly across from the Hilton Hotel. For more information contact the gallery’s director Emese Kovács at 225-8676 (Hungarian language only) or Budapest Arts Management at 200-2689 (English only).

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