BucharestAurora Király: from somewhere other than myself
Something happens, but by the time we notice, it has
begun without us.
Thus, our access to the beginning is necessarily
-Peggy Phelan **
Added to list
Fragments, larger and smaller expand in our mind’s eye, as we build narratives around the traces that branch out in memory. Aurora Király starts from personal recollections that she follows down in layers onwards, in shapes and associations with films, novels, poetry and performative actions. A shifting, choreographed universe takes form, where silhouettes emerge out of the flat surface of textile collages and photographs in embodied shadows, textile sculptures and experimental photography objects.
The artist focuses on the subjective memory, the half-forgotten moments, the reinterpreted stories in our mind, the connections we make with others. Like never before, we are able to record, store and re-access every detail of our lives. And yet, the faster we collect and the more the images, the more shards of mirrors we hurry to assemble. Departing from immediate reality, Aurora Király reconnects what is remembered to what is felt, from translucent moments, to retraced movements in textured thoughts. Sewing, drawing, unravelling, rebuilding become performative actions hidden into the work of memory that feeds into our sense of selves into the world.
The effect of remembrance in relation with photography and to one’s identity has informed Aurora Király’s work throughout her career, starting from the Melancholia series (1997 – 1999) and Viewfinder Mock-ups (2016 – 2019), connecting into the more recent Soft Drawings (2020 – 2021) or more obviously, into the Viewfinder Clash series (2021).The experimentation with image making and time-to-memory process registers transformation across mediums, materializing back and forth, from silver gelatin plates and photograms to textile works, in-situ murals and installations.
Aurora Király’s cross-medium approach speaks directly to the feminine associated with the domesticity of needle work. It is employed by the artist as a clear statement, reconnecting with the feminism of Louise Bourgeois or Tracey Emin, through the autobiographical. An alternative history of photography unfolds in subjective narratives, becoming an accomplice and paying homage to the feminist history of performance.
Scrutinizing her own personal life and experiences leads to installations such as 50’s or Soft Despair (2020) series, conveying conflict, age, pain and doubt. The dance and theatrical movements of performers including Yvonne Rainer or Mette Ingvartsen fill out the contour of Aurora Király’s body in life-sized padded textile shapes. Either captured in a silent scream or in mid-air leaps, movement is transferred in mute installations, all the more powerful for the recognizable voices stored inside, unspoken, unreactive or under the spell of self-censorship. The textile bodies coil around each-other, forming a merged frame of flowing gestures, an overlapping statement on aging, the relation between one’s inhabited body and self-expression.
From felt, to different recycled fabrics, tore-up pieces of clothes are sewed into Aurora Király’s textile collages Soft Drawings_Subconscious Narratives (2020 – 2021). Exploring relationships within family life, the ambivalent want for both comfort and escape, the flat surfaces, the overlay of transparencies come together into deeply psychological process. It may be a scene from a well-known TV show, or a relatable picture out of the family album, or the light cast down the ceiling-window of a museum space – the works connect to the understory that builds up to main events and memories.
An invisible network of lazy afternoons, and frivolous talks, the half-forgotten that adds up to the singular sense of an identity or to a momentous event when the I becomes the stranger.
Working at the intersection of photography with textile art, drawing or installations, Aurora Király (b. 1970) explores how the mind records, relives, remembers. She is particularly interested in exploring feminist theories in relation with identity-making and the status of women in society. Her works relates to complex connections between events, public and private sphere of experience.
Her works are part of important private and public collections, exhibited in the following selected shows: 12 Years After. A Survey of Romanian Art in 180 Works (The National Museum of Contemporary Art, RO, 2020 – 2021); The Show That Never Was (Anca Poterasu Gallery, RO, 2021); Corsets Then & Now (Zina Gallery, RO, 2021); 4 | 14 | 26 degrees east (Anca Poterasu Gallery and lítost, BE, 2020); In Midst of the Worst, the Best of Times (SUMO – The Odd year at lítost Prague, CZ, 2020); A Room of One’s Own, (NADA Gallery Open NY Harlem CT Collective and Danny Baez, US, 2020); In The Eye of The Storm (Anca Poterasu Gallery, RO, 2019); Ex-East. Past and recent stories of the Romanian avant-gardes (Espace Niemeyer, Paris, FR, 2019); At Different Angles (The National Museum of Contemporary Art, RO, 2018); Woman, All Too Woman – The 3rd Edition of Baroque Urban (Museum of Art, Timișoara RO, 2018); Orient – Trauma & Revival: Contemporary Encounters (Kim? Laikmetīgās mākslas centrs, Riga / BOZAR Centre for Fine Arts, Brussels / Galeria Sztuki Współczesnej Bunkier Sztuki, Kraków, 2018); Conjectures (solo – show, Spinnerei Leipzig Project Space, DE, 2018); Constructed Geometries. Space / Time / Memory (solo – show, Anca Poterasu Gallery, RO, 2017); Life a User’s Manual (Art Encounters Contemporary Art Biennial, RO, 2017); Reality Check (solo – show Calina Gallery, Timișoara RO, 2016); Ex Future (Arcub Gabroveni, RO, 2016); Our History about the Others. Bucharest – A city seen through four lenses (White Night of the Galleries #10 at Scena9 RO, 2016); Girls with Ideas [Boys and Paintings] (Lateral ArtSpace, Paintbrush Factory, Cluj, RO, 2016); Brain Tatoos – A Map of Obssesions (Romanian Cultural Institute Lisbon, PT, 2016); Cut & Paste Histories (Alert Studio, Bucharest, RO, 2015); WHAT ABOUT Y[OUR] MEMORY (The National Museum of Contemporary Art, RO, 2014); Good Girls – On Memory, Desire, Power (The National Museum of Contemporary Art, Bucharest, RO, 2013); Duet ( Fortress Gallery, Târgu Mureș, RO, 2003); Feminine Archaeology (International Center for Contemporary Art, Bucharest, RO, 2000); Melancholia (Sindan Cultural Center, Cluj, RO, 2000); Melancholia (GAD Photogallery, Bucharest, RO, 2000); Untitled (International Center for Contemporary Art, Bucharest, RO, 1999).
*Everything without exception which is of value in me comes from somewhere other than myself, not as a gift but as a loan which must be ceaselessly renewed. (Simone Weil, Gravity and Grace, ”The Self”, Taylor & Francis e-Library, 2003, p. 31.)
**Peggy Phelan in ”Letters.Dwelling”, in Adrian Heathfield, Out of Now: The Lifeworks of Tehching Hsieeh, 2009, p. 342.
Aurora Király, from somewhere other than myself, 2021, at Anca, Poterasu Gallery