István Felsmann: Set Courses
"This country is like an amusement park that is leased by different interest groups each historical season ….”
(Sándor Márai: The Complete Diary, excerpt from the year 1946)
„Let’s send a message to Steve so that he will understand!”
István Felsmann now presents his latest series of objects from 2016 at the space of acb Attachment. The exhibited static and kinetic objects ironically reflect on the local and global political phenomena of our time from the perspective of ordinary people, occasionally using simple practical jokes. Conceived by an artist in his early thirties, the series focuses on stereotypes, which are necessary elements of human thinking while bearing the possibility of manipulating the individual, the results of which take effect on a social level.
The events of the surrounding world and the excess of information pouring out of the virtual space pose an ever greater challenge to individuals in their relation to these events and in formulating their opinion and value judgement. Our brain processes the constant flood of information with different methods to make them evocable as memories. During this schematic processing, instead of recording every detail of a new event, our mind compares it with existing schemes, categorizing their specific aspects based on the matches found. The process is automatic, most of the time leaving us unaware of this method of constructing memories. The survival of the stereotypes so created is facilitated by their self-fulfilling effect, insofar as we adjust our behaviour to the expectations of the scheme thus ingrained. Such ingrained pieces of information then lead to prejudices, which become problematic if the new pieces of information – contradicting the stereotypes – fail to modify the faulty classification. The propaganda mechanisms of the ruling power and the media are capable of manipulating masses by building on these very stereotypes, and in most cases the greed of enforcing short-term interests eclipses any social responsibility the manipulators might feel.
Felsmann’s exhibited works embody old and new conceptual and visual stereotypes, directly or indirectly related to current local and global political processes. Constructed of motifs exposed to distortions and unusual associations, to monotonous and compulsive movements, the series of objects might as well be put on show outside the exhibition space in a political amusement park.
This exhibition is István Felsmann’s (1984) second solo show in acb Attachment. The audience knows his name owing to his Lego reliefs, which have practically become his trademark, and which were represented at several group exhibitions and on the cover of the Hungarian edition of Flash Art magazine in addition to his first solo exhibition at acb in 2014. Besides his relief-like image-objects, another important element of his artistic activity is his online visual diary of daily pencil drawings, but he also works with a number of other media.