Kálmán Szijártó

About the artist

Kálmán Szijártó (1946, Szigetvár) was a founding member of the Pécs Workshop. Despite the renewed interest towards the activity of the group, Szijártó remains to this day its least known member. After a short geometric period at the very end of the 1960s when he studied interference both as an idea and a retinal experience, he turned to new media as early as 1970, performing outdoor interventions together with Károly Kismányoky and documenting their results. By examining how simple linear elements placed into a natural context would interact or interfere with the scene, Szijártó developed an interest in engaging more with process-based, performative forms and expressions involving his body. In his photo series entitled Art Gestures (1971-1974), he interconnected the inscription ART with opening and closing movements of the palm, giving both a poetic tone and political connotations to the piece. One of his most emblematic works remains nevertheless Transformations, a piece composed of a photo series (1977-1978) and a performance (1979-1980). Driven by the idea of interrelatedness, he wrapped his head with gauze, painted on it and the unveiled his face marked by the painting. In the resulting performance, Szijártó included the audience in the same process of wrapping, unwrapping then rewrapped all the strips of gauze around his head. An emphatic appropriation that echoed the concept developed in his early drawings and outdoor interventions: the reciprocal, permeable sensitization of different surfaces, of reality and its reflection; of the performer and the performed context – should it be natural or human.

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