I grew up in a small Hungarian village and have lived there until the age of 14. Although I have not spent the second half of my life home, this milieu is defining for me even today. My parents work in agriculture among others, and some of my relatives are breeding maize in Pretoria, South Africa. I simply feel involved and I believe that this theme concerns all of us in a wider sense: practically we enjoy the outcome of these economic processes, and the work becomes more and more invisible and unknown.
For me it is especially exciting to see the way digital innovations integrate into the natural environment around us, and how and for how long the influence of artificial presence can be enhanced in agriculture. At this point I would like to continue my research in this direction: examining the ways how digital applications interact with the natural environment.
In August 2018 I participated in the Krinzinger Projekte Artist in Residence Program, in Petomihályfa, Hungary. During this period I began working on a new series, in the focus of which are drones used in agricultures and the photographs they take. The drone is a remote-controlled or programmed flying device without a pilot that is capable to gather information, and carry out logistical or special operative tasks. One of the prospective areas of using drones is agriculture. The shots the drones take can make tracking plants’ development easier, and abnormalities and illnesses can be easily noticed. If drones photograph a patch or a plantation a database can be built of the images, which can be used to forecast regularities and irregularities regarding the given crops.
I made a two-component series. The piece entitled Plant Stress Map summarizes visually the positive or negative effects of the vaporization mechanism, the range of chemicals, and their effect on the protection and development of plants. In my five-piece collage series – entitled Agrarian Strategy – I provide clues for the interpretation of the installation in the middle: concrete, existing operating principle of vaporization simulation, and expressions or motifs taken from digital interfaces marking basic directions. For me the most interesting part of the examined theme is the way how balance can be maintained between collapse and stability in this environment.
Zsolt Molnár is a member of the youngest generation of Hungarian graphic artists. After having completed his studies at the Graphics Department of the Hungarian University of Fine Arts in 2012, he moved away from traditional printmaking techniques and began studying the conceptual possibilities inherent in graphic arts imagery. He abandoned the slow chemical processes of printmaking and began constructing highly complicated works of collage-architecture, which at first were layered pictorial surfaces and which with time grew into three-dimensional installations the structures of which were balanced in space. The wooden and metal structures built around picture fields expanded into objects closely follow and almost simulate in space the actual functions of the depicted objects, tools and agricultural equipment. Associative titles, like Magpie-Trap (2014), Situation-Regulator (2015) and Multi-Row Sprayer (2016), help one decode the objects, which are hard to identify at first glance. In front of and surrounding the collages, the colours of which have been reduced and the forms and sizes of which vary, Molnár often places a white “paper coulisse” cut to shape. These “coulisses” follow the contours of the objects in the collages with minute precision. The objects depicted in this manner seem to float in the sterile space, which lacks any horizon.
The collages, which consisting of various picture planes and paper layers, become part of the installations and thereby enter the space. The groups of works and the series can be categorized according to subject matter. Prototypes of the forms depicted in the picture planes are mostly tools and pieces of equipment used in agriculture. Molnár studied their mechanisms and construction before transforming them into abstract geometric structures.