From the speech of art historian Péter Fitz at the opening ceremony of the exhibition:
“Urban creatures rarely stop by at the shore of a lake. Now I’m not thinking of the Danube rolling in the centre of the city (that can happen) but of a still, calm and secluded water, maybe a sea, a lake, a rush-bed, a pool in a garden, a brook, a pond with wild ducks, a wet meadow surrounded by reed. Actually it’s all the same. It’s about a renowned place which provides an opportunity to get ourselves loose from this day, to let our meditation skills improve and our ears be fine-tuned to noises that are beyond the present and allow that movement and wobble of light onto our retina which can be barely seen. Snip deeply in the wet air.”
Zsuzsanna Paál’s creatures are mysterious, mythical bird and human-bird symbols moving their wings mechanically but not flying in reality but only in our imagination. Extraordinary lights and shadows make them move in diverse still repetitive and mantra-like ways.
This kind of spiritual pulsation defines the complete scenery: the movements of the projected water, the noises of water and nature, the splashing of the water, the reflected circles on the wall, the swishing of herons’ wings together with the shadows of the visitors themselves compose this meditative space.
This place is also a scene for a ritual. If I wanna be cold, I would say there is a performance upcoming. If I want to approach the spirit of this thing, then we are going to see and we are going to be a part and a partner in a ritualistic art series.
Rituals and ceremonies are always based on a shared knowledge and belief system. The events of a ceremony are quite rigid; each and every movement, gesture, clothing and object has a definite meaning.
Zsuzsanna Paál’s ritual is more liberal than that: participants have more space for associations. Although we stem from one tribe we experience rituals in diverse ways.
Our civilisation has become too rigid and rational. Cultic events got restricted to the field of arts and controlled by genres and artistic rules.
Now we are participants of a magical artistic situation when we don’t know the steps of the ritual, when it is an improvisation. Still, we’ll feel at home because it happens to us and it is about us.
Songs of Herons
Ernst Museum, Dorottya Gallery 2002
In front of the projected shadow images on the wall, the wing beats of the kinetic statues and my movements got melded into one. In this performance, I was wearing a white dress functioning as a mobile screen. Getting distant from the projector, my height got the same as the mobile statues’. It was like getting united with the very sculptures that I had called into life.