Rebeka Sára Szigethy

  • Hungary (b. 1983 in Budapest)
  • Currently in Folkestone, United Kingdom.


Reeling experiment - plate 1

Reeling experiment - plate 1

  • 2019
  • Monotype, Digital print, edition of 1
  • 56 x 42 cm
  • Monotype of the traces my hands (prepared with industrial grease) made on a surface during the act of reeling yarn, as well as the digital print of the act photographed.

  • The pieces are mere by-products of the otherwise immaterial concept of the process, which constitutes the artwork itself, and questions whether it is possible to decipher the details of the actual process in the cross-section of these by-products.
  • Spinning top - experiment 3 - thumbnail Spinning top - experiment 2 - thumbnail Spinning top - experiment 1 - thumbnail Rolling - plate 3 - thumbnail Reeling experiment - plate 1 - thumbnail Rolling experiment - plate 1 - thumbnail Rolling experiment - plate 2 - thumbnail Rolling experiment - plate 3 - thumbnail Reeling experiment - plate 2 - thumbnail

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    Processes as objects - Spinning, reeling and rolling experiments | 2019

In my visual experiments I investigate the illusory nature of repetition by fragmenting seemingly repetitive movements and breaking them down to their defining elements. By “fragmenting” I mean a range of different operations which result in a significant and obvious loss of information for the viewer. In my visual investigation I present these fragments in various ways so that they alienate the viewer and focus their attention to the untraceability of the process of making (to which I will refer simply as the “process”) at the same time. When considering repetition in my work, I agree with John Cage when he says that “repetition doesn’t exist [...] If we think that things are being repeated, it is generally because we don’t pay attention to all of the details” (interview with Ollrogge, 1985, cited in Kostelanetz, 2003:226). Differences in the outcomes of multiple iterations of the same process are only traces of variations in the process itself caused by chance events and factors. The philosophical basis of my approach to processes is provided by object-oriented ontology (OOO), primarily as it is developed by Graham Harman. Through OOO, Harman and others endeavour to provide an account of the world under which not only inanimate things but everything – all animate beings as well as concepts and ideas – can be interpreted and considered as objects. It is on the basis of this that I consider processes as objects. For me, the most important aspects of OOO are that it considers events as objects, and that it describes objects as having an inaccessible, unknowable “essence” (Harman, 2017:159). I consider this essence “the marks of events in the objects’ (hi)stories” (Szigethy, forthcoming), which in this case consists in the artistic process itself. Exploring the above ideas, I want to present visual pieces so that they are nothing more than indicators of their own histories. The focus is not on the resulting pieces but on the process of their making. An important inspiration in this regard was Robert Morris’ minimalist work, particularly his piece Box with the Sound of Its Own Making. Besides his use of simple, everyday materials (something I do in most of my work as well), Morris also incorporated the process of making into his piece, transferring focus onto the process. For our lack of knowledge regarding all the other details of the “physical labor” (Smith, 2018), Morris’ process remains inaccessible and “mysterious” specifically because the work puts the otherwise absent process into the cross-section of the sound recording and the box, and thus into the centre of attention. I perceive a similar effect in a number of (primarily sculptural) works of Gabriel Orozco. In his works, the process is hinted at through visual traces on the material; to a certain extent, the exhibited sculptural piece is nothing more than a lump of material, an indicator of the series of events involved in the making process. In connection with his choice of material for Yielding Stone (1992), Orozco (2010, cited in Pobocha & Byrd, 2010:73) mentions that “[t]he work demonstrates the process of its making.” For Orozco, this means the traces and imprints of both the manual gesture of shaping the material as well as events brought about by chance. In connection with Yielding Stone, I also find it important to note that due to the rolling of the spherical body, the temporality of the work’s history is suspended: on its surface, the traces of various events (dents, dirt etc.) from various times appear side by side in a dissolution of temporal linearity. In her conceptual pieces Reversible and Interchangeable Phases of Motion Nos. 1–6, Dóra Maurer applies an analytical method to action by breaking it down to its elements. She then changes the order of the elements, each of which depicts a fragment of a series of movements (Maurer considered these fragments signs [Ludwig Múzeum, s.d.]). Here, the knowability of the movement is questioned by breaking up its temporal linearity. The use of close-ups and sterile composition fails to provide any meaningful context, which shifts attention to the movement itself and invites guessing as to the nature of the activity. In the frottage series Hidden Structures, the geometrical forms rubbed remain hidden, only their imprints are visible. Action and chance are the basis of Maurer’s piece Dripping Acid to the Plate. The aim here is not to capture a design or an image to be multiplied (which is traditionally the purpose of etching techniques). Instead, the etching plate is generated in the cross-section of the radical action of spilling the acid and the chance motion of the liquid on the metal surface. The print and the photographs documenting the spilling action together display the process as a duality of cause and effect. My conceptual work is situated along the above visual works and their underlying ideas. By only hinting at the process through the resulting pieces as well as by serialising work (through repetitive movements), I intend to direct attention to the experience that certain segments and details of the process remain hidden, partly due to differences brought about by chance. I explore the above ideas by creating simple systems based on repetitive movements, carried out for period of time limited by certain characteristics of the material I use (e.g. the length of the thread, the time it takes for the plaster to harden etc.). For my aims, participatory workshops and performances would not be suitable ways of visual expression. Although such artistic initiatives (such as Do It, initiated by Christian Boltanski, Bertrand Lavier and Hans Ulrich Obrist in 1993 ) do question repeatability and (due to their participatory nature) the subjective and experiential dimension of actions, yet they do not focus on the incommunicability of such subjective experiences, or on the process as the work’s history. These techniques suggest that it is possible to get to know, learn and repeat the process, whereas it is my basic experience that due to the impossibility of repetition, the action and the process are never accessible in their entirety. Using visual (or visualised) results of banal, everyday activities is an important part of my work. In my process I often use such activities which are not usually considered visually interesting, or which are not specifically aimed at the creation of visual works. In my series Spinning Top and Rolling, the two- and three-dimensional pieces I create are considered mere by-products in that they are physical traces of the otherwise immaterial concept of the process, which constitutes the artwork itself, and questions whether it is possible to decipher the details of the actual process in the cross-section of these by-products. These works not only deal with repetition in that I re-enact the process of making over and over, but also in that the series of movements and gestures I use during the process are themselves repetitive (circular) as well. To achieve an alienating effect, I layer photos taken of various phases of processes on top of one another, as well as to develop further systems in which a given action generates multiple visual results at the same time. The visuality of my work is based on that of photograms (which, according to Maurer [2001, cited in Eperjesi, 2018:16] “can be considered the primal formula of imaging: it is a shadow and the trace of a presence, both of which are the origins of images”), black-and-white photocopying and monotyping. These techniques also provide visual means for suspending the temporal linearity of actions, while I use sculptural techniques and photography for the spatial examination of movement.