Ervin Zsubori: At first sight


There are words, which you hear once and never forget even if they have no practical benefit. Like „dostoprimechatelnosti” or a verse from the „Bards of Wales” (a poem by János Arany): Montgomery is the lord of the castle… for example, or the sinus and cosinus, tangent and reciprocity. Of course they are different for everybody. There are smells: a bakery in Keszthely at dawn or the incense at a winter funeral, or the smell of the first snow. They are different. Enough to smell them once and remember them forever and recall the face, the intonation to which they were connected at one time.

And there are gestures (you don’t know from where) and silences, which are waiting for a door to be opened at last.

And finally there are colors embedded in forms, patches, trembling with faded contours, there are pictures which look familiar at first sight as if they had existed forever, as if they were destined to recall a story which happened in the past. And they don’t need words because they speak about themselves, or for themselves if you like. If we are lucky old smells will also be attached to them and saturate the paper or the canvas.

The elektrographics of József Gábos are such pictures. Such fragments of memory, which is constructed from details only. From details, in which the devil lives, and which at first sight don’t seem to have any practical benefit, but they are simply there, impossible to avoid.

József Gábos silently picks up a detail, naturally one that grasp his imagination, he turns it round and round, gives it different shapes, takes away from it, adds another one to it, turns it over, twists it around until the detail begins to fill up with light and feeling, disintegrates it into colors and reassembles it and it begins to speak (perhaps in an Indian dialect or Portuguese)and slowly it stripes his past, and rises for a new life.

And the artist, who in our case is made an artist by the fact that he knows and feels where he must put the cursor, and when he must click with the left button of the mouse (naturally not only because of it but not without it), suddenly sees what we can also see here, that the former detail changed into a whole. A whole, which has a title (but the title does not explain only mark), and has a story with which we probably never become acquainted, but this wouldn’t have any practical benefit anyway.

And the unprecedented picture behind which emerge words and smells yet ready to become a new starting point.

But that will be another story.

[22 September 2001. Archives Arnolfini, Szigetszentmiklós, the opening speech at the exhibition of József Gábos, titled: At first sight.]

Pictures from the exhibition