Simultaneously – Studio Visits | Zsófia Bérczi: Desert Temple  

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Desert Temple

Visions of the Black-Robed Women – A Photo Journal

Zsófia Bérczi is interested in vulnerable female roles, the social position and experiences of women living in Muslim countries covered from head to toe. Driven by this fascination, in 2006-2007 she travelled to Egypt with a State Eötvös Scholarship. during her travels she two different objectives: to work in stages images showing a vision of a desert-dwelling female community, and to create a photo journal and blog about her own experiences.

In the first part of the exhibition, visitors are greeted by the self-reporting images and journal entries. Zsófia Bérczi documented her journey with pictures that featured herself; so here and there she set up her camera on a tripod and, stepping back into the happenings of the given moment, used a self-timer to make the exposure. She describes her experiences and impressions in frank detail. Visitors can read excerpts of this and hear the artist’s voice.

Stepping into the rear exhibition space we see black-robed women – like members of an imaginary order of female monks – in an environment divested of the trappings of everyday life: among abandoned ruins or in the desert. The title of the photo series also calls us to experience the sacredness of the infinite desert and the garment enshrouding the entire body. The visual foundation is provided by the contrast of the soft black figures with the sand colour of the desert surroundings. Treated as a costume, the Muslim garb is condensed to the full weight of its meaning, which is then lifted and resolved into airiness by the rippling of the wind. The soul of the unseen person is reflected in the hauntingly timeless space; the compositions draw you into the depths of the psyche. The sparing, often geometric compositions morph frame-by-frame into a spiritual philosophy: The elements of the photo series can be symbolically interpreted as stations on the path to inner freedom of a female soul that is restricted in its outer freedom. “My intention is to open doors onto the metaphysical plane, onto the search for an individual path that merges with the collective one” says the artist.

Curator  : Ildikó Éri

Zsófia Bérczi graduated with a degree in photography from the Visual Communication department of the Hungarian University of Applied Arts in 2003. Since 2004, her main artistic focus has been visual theatre building on associative dramaturgy. She creates and directs her productions under the auspices of the Living Picture Theatre, which she founded and manages herself. She is constantly active in the Hungarian and international art scene. She experiments with new ways of seeing both in terms of form and content, bringing her visions to life through the most varied forms of performance and visual art, always seeking an interdisciplinary approach. She typically designs and animates puppet-like forms – costumes, shrouds, shapes, installations – suitable for breaking down archetypal content; she uses these to create the moving, shifting images – or as she describes them, living pictures – choreographed in the space and scenery surrounding her. Her creations are transcendental ritual worlds that become a shared celebration through the complete self-surrender of both the artist and the performer. Past visitors to Kunsthalle Budapest have already had the chance to see her productions entitled Wave Space, Living Surface and Light Spheres, as well as a performance by the black Morphomen reminiscent of the black-clad women in the photo series shown in the present exhibition. In a testament to her versatility that the Angster memorial in Pécs, built in 2015 in honour of her ancestors, was based on her concept and visual designs.


Simultaneously – Studio Visits

Zoltán Bánföldi | Zsófia Bérczi | Győző Byhon | Gábor Fülöp | Réka Gergely | Tibor Pataki | Péter Rizmayer | Nóra Soós | László Tenk

MŰCSARNOK Kunsthalle Budapest | 28 October 2020 – 10 January 2021  

virtual opening:

2020. October 28. - 2021. February 14.

Kunsthalle, Budapest

2020. September 11. - November 8.
Previous exhibition

József Kadosa Kiss: The order of Art – Arte legis

2020. November 6. - 2021. February 28.
Next exhibition

Beat Fest. János Kőbányai’s Photographs