“Who Cares?” An Interview with Hungarian Artist Andrea Fajgerné – VoCA

By Last Updated: January 21, 2024Views: 151

Contributing creator Caitlin Swindell is the Curator of Collections and Exhibitions on the Lowe Artwork Museum, College of Miami. She has held curatorial positions on the Denver Artwork Museum and the Museum of Modern Artwork (MOCA) Jacksonville, labored as an artwork marketing consultant in Santa Fe, NM, and accomplished internships at varied establishments, together with the Museum of Wonderful Arts, Boston, the Smithsonian Nationwide Portrait Gallery, and the New Orleans Museum of Artwork.

Andrea Fajgerné Dudás (b. 1985) is an artist, modern painter, housewife, feminist, efficiency artist, and a mom of two. She is represented by Erika Deák Gallery in Budapest, Hungary. For extra data, go to the artist’s web site at https://fajgerne.com/.



I first met Andrea Fajgerné in spring of 2022 as a part of a two-week curatorial residency in Budapest, Hungary. My colleagues and I visited Fajgerné’s solo exhibition entitled Catalyst of the Housewife on the Godot Institute of Modern Artwork the place we met Fajgerné and spoke together with her about her inventive apply and the works on view. This interview sheds gentle on a lot of what she spoke about then—gender inequality, and the spheres inside which ladies work.  It additionally touches on different collection of hers which are notably related to the dialogue surrounding feminine identification and Hungarian tradition.

Andrea Fajgerné’s work spans portray, images, sculpture, site-specific installations, efficiency, and EAT-ART happenings—by which viewers are invited to eat a meals part of an set up whereas additionally viewing or responding to different artworks. She accomplished her DLA (Physician of Liberal Artwork) on the Hungarian College of Wonderful Arts from 2013-2019 and has exhibited her work extensively. Her artwork historic pursuits and areas of analysis embody the strategies of feminine painters from the 1400s to the mid-1900s.

Set up of exhibition Catalyst of the Housewife, 2022 at Godot Institute of Modern Artwork, Budapest, Hungary.

Caitlin: It’s improbable to get to talk to you once more in any case this time. Maybe you may begin by sharing a bit about your early profession. When did you start working as an artist? Have you ever all the time been artistically inclined?

Andrea: I don’t come from a household of artists. I used to be going to be a businesswoman, however I used to be delicate to the world and all for artwork. I made a decision to turn into an artist on the age of 16, impressed by Frida Kahlo’s depictions of her knit eyebrows and moustache, which on the time made me marvel what to do with physique hair. Then I grew to become very decided and purposeful. I graduated from the Hungarian College of Wonderful Arts with a level in portray; my advisor was Orshi Drozdik. Feminine painters and oeuvres that have been pushed apart or excluded from the canon of artwork historical past have performed an necessary function in my artwork since 2009. In my dissertation, I’ve centered on feminist artwork practices that thematise home tasks and kitchen chores carried out by ladies. As an integral a part of my apply, Eat Artwork permits me to formulate experiences and emotions that my portray can’t categorical.

Caitlin: Since identification is a big a part of your work, inform us in regards to the act of taking your husband’s identify—a conventional Hungarian customized. How do individuals react to this?

Andrea: I declare myself a girl artist and a feminist artist. I dwell in a conventional nuclear household, and with my identify, I additionally declare that I’m a married lady. A feminist and spouse who takes on conventional feminine roles and voices taboo subjects akin to infertility and synthetic insemination. I simply establish with the wishes, objectives and willpower of first-generation feminists, however I grew up in gender parity and see women and men as equals. So, after my marriage, based on the normal Hungarian naming conventions, I took my husband’s identify as a radical inventive gesture (Mrs. Fajger, by which the suffix -né denotes belonging to a person), which I’ve used as an artist’s identify ever since.

I took my husband’s identify based on conventional Hungarian customized, which I interpret each as belonging to a person and an inventive assertion. I discover the intertwining of feminine identification, social roles and patriarchal conventions. As a feminist, I additionally create confusion within the modern artwork milieu with my conservative feminine identify. In my work entitled Compromise, I depict a brand new sort of marriage by which husband and spouse are equal companions and assist one another obtain their objectives.

Caitlin: What’s it prefer to be a feminine artist in Hungary? How do you expertise and mirror on patriarchal conventions and social roles?

Andrea Fajgerne, Picaboo, 2021, oil on canvas, 150x120cm

Andrea: In as we speak’s Hungary, there’s a national-conservative idea based on what a girl’s place is at dwelling, within the household, within the kitchen, and within the family with the kids. In my portray Picaboo Housewife’s Artwork, the girl hides behind the pile of unwashed dishes within the pantry; she has to turn into invisible with a purpose to do the (artistic) work mandatory for her profession and success. As a white, middle-class lady from Central-Japanese Europe, I’m conscious of my scenario. My life is underdeveloped in comparison with the West, and nonetheless, it’s joyful and calm for third-world nations. I’m in an ‘in between’ scenario like my portray is located between figuration and abstraction. In Hungary, feminism continues to be “immature,” it is sort of a “inexperienced tomato.” I categorical this concept most clearly in my eponymous “Inexperienced Tomato” jam. Ladies’s angle in the direction of feminine artwork and feminism has not modified since socialism in Hungary. Nevertheless, the world has modified a lot that ladies usually arouse debates amongst different ladies about feminism. Nevertheless, within the artwork world, a person nonetheless has a greater likelihood to achieve success, as to at the present time, childbirth determines ladies’s careers and their notion in society. I can say that ladies should defend their pursuits not solely towards males, however there are additionally conflicts between ladies. bell hooks attracts our consideration to how the white lady turns into domineering and exploitative, similar to the exploitative heterosexual white man she theoretically fights. If she turns into dominant, she turns into simply as oppressive.  In conclusion, I try and pursue the profession of knowledgeable artist by which I can keep true to myself whereas being a spouse and a mom of two and attempt to reconcile the career-parenting-household triad. I aspire to take care of equal relationships and do my greatest to not turn into oppressive.

Caitlin: Are there artists that encourage you or that you just really feel are necessary to the Feminist artwork motion/s? What affect have that they had on you?

Andrea: In 2009, after I purchased Frances Borzello’s guide entitled Femmes au Miroir in Paris, I made a decision that ladies painters and forgotten feminine artists can be given a outstanding function in my artwork. To this finish, I consistently reinterpret them, incorporate their work into my apply, and my aim is to make them a part of our collective reminiscence. Sadly, in Hungary, few books have been revealed about ladies painters, and there are hardly any books about ladies painters in universities. Their tales usually are not identified. I want to make up for this. I’ve a number of literature from America, I’ve been to New York twice, and I’ve purchased many books in English and German from Germany and Vienna. I pursued a doctorate to show the historical past of ladies painters in my nation alongside my artwork profession.

However to offer you a brief record with a few of the artists which have had an affect on my apply: Frida Kahlo, Mierle Laderman Ukeles, VALIE EXPORT, Georgia O’Keeffe, Janine Antoni, Lily Martin Spencer, Lee Krasner, Birgit Jürgenssen, Carolee Schneemann, Francesca Woodman, Sonja Delaunay, Zinaida Sererjakova, Meret Oppenheim, Natalja Goncsarova, Elisabeth Butler, Judy Chicago.

Andrea Fajgerné, Care, 2021, oil on canvas, 150x120cm

Caitlin: The notion of care—each as a mom and associate seems all through your work. Geometric abstraction in your portray evokes a few of the patterns of tea towels additionally integrated in Catalyst of a Housewife. Along with tea towels, dishware is one other key factor. Inform us about these supplies and what attracts you to them.

Andrea: Care is an idea that’s essentially linked to being a girl in all types of damaging and optimistic senses, each as an obligation and as an expectation. In my NO FOMO collection, the idea of care has come to the fore. It was Ukeles’ Care efficiency that basically impressed me and Loving Care efficiency from Janine Antoni. Due to this fact, the title and message of all my photos are about care. And the titles of the photographs are puns on the phrase care: Care-free, Ba-care, Childcare, Who cares?, Self-care.

In the course of the pandemic, every part was relegated to the house, to the intimate sphere, and with the closure of establishments, the boundaries between work and personal life ceased to exist. As an artist with younger kids, I needed to turn into a kindergarten trainer, a trainer, a housekeeper, whereas working and creating after I had the power left. Not solely did the pandemic push ladies again into the family, however in current many years now we have taken a step backwards in gender equality. You’d assume that in such a radical life scenario, which impacts everybody, the stress from the scene, the exterior and inner expectations, the fixed have to carry out would disappear. Nevertheless, the wishes to show oneself and the sensation of FOMO (the worry of lacking out) have solely intensified, and expectations stay the identical as a result of artists are below the phantasm that each one they do throughout a pandemic is create and create.

In my artwork, I used to be impressed by Hélène Cixous’s writings on feminine language and speech, which incited her to search out her feminine voice. I take care of the marginal problems with feminine existence. Ladies have to be invisible to do the artistic work mandatory for his or her profession and success. Birgit Jürgensen’s Fensterputzen (1975) and Hausfrau (1974) had a terrific affect on me. The colors of ultramarine and vermillion are the everyday colors of kitchen towels however fundamental supplies of portray which might make these extraordinary, menial, and invisible works nobler. I contemplate kitchen towels as geometrical summary artworks in an everyday-life atmosphere. The kitchen towel symbolizes the summary portray of our weekdays; it’s consistently in entrance of our sight and engrained in our consciousness. Brushstrokes and paints display cleansing. Gestures symbolize rubbing and wiping. In my summary work, I depict tea towels that are minimalist instruments that consistently embellish kitchens. I deconstruct tea towels, divide them into components, and put them into a brand new construction. I work with the gesture of cleansing, whereas the geometric system of kitchen towels signifies the grid.

Caitlin: How do you choose textiles – are there sure motifs that carry that means in Hungarian tradition?

Andrea:  I take motifs and patterns from people artwork and the world of tessellations used within the family and residential, patterns for tablecloths, kitchen linen, and carpets.


[This is Part 1 of an in-depth interview with the artist. Part 2 will be published soon, so stay tuned!]

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