End of the Year Shows, Ulster University, Belfast, 2018, part 2: Szabo and Canning

Serenade by Random, 2018


Attila Szabo mines the rich vein of power of play, imagination and science: ” I enjoy combining art with electronics. Art that comes alive using the magic of technology and technology that brings people together instead of replacing them.” (http://szattla.wixsite.com/attilaszabo)

His statement is a healthy application of “benefit of art” – a vexed question tried to death by agencies like ACNI who seems to be  occupying an opposite position to some of the current research. I have in mind  this: “… an ever-growing body of data, like this recent study in the Journal of Business Research, suggests that “aesthetic experiences” in a “business environment” generate “enhanced performance in product design, brand naming, and problem solution generation.”  (see https://www.insidephilanthropy.com/home/2018/6/18/what-are-some-measurable-benefits-of-the-arts-experience-its-easier-to-count-the-ways?mc_cid=72fd889df4&mc_eid=220fe9547f)

Please note: “aesthetic experience” is the benefit – not  anything narrowly related to political or social or health issues.

Indeed, problem solving, appears a daily pressing need in all walks of life, the current state of affairs in the world makes it even more palpably urgent.

Heart to Heart, 2018

Szabo :” This is an interactive art piece that reads two peoples’ pulse and moves the drumsticks according to their heart beat. The piece aims to set up an unusual situation to connect two people allowing them to have a non verbal communication… a “heart to heart” conversation”

In both installations the “nature” contributes to the aesthetic  experience in a guise of free energy ( water falling, heartbeat made audible) with  electricity to activate.   Laudable interdependence between aesthetic experience  and nature  gently bridges over the assumed culturally determined division.

The interdisciplinary art is a phenomenon inherited from modernism ( e.g.  Calder, Fluxus) and pop culture of the last century.    As then, even now, that commitment is deeply personal.

Richard J Canning  distills interior design into  line drawings  that subtract the observed  real to its boundaries with the air.

Just like technical drawings – allowed to disobey the optics of perspective and proportion –  the chairs around the table below I drawn as if from different distances, to make  a chair look smaller than the one next to it.  The wrong perspective animates the line drawing  making it more poetic than descriptive.

In some -sorry not  shown here- he reaches the boundary of similarity allowing the image to float into the dynamics of metamorphosis.

The intention is not shielded from influence of viewing.  These artists do not wish to cancel the sense of connectivity between the initial values embodied in their intent.  Charles Baudelaire’s Correspondences  appear to receive another  “working life”.

Nature is a temple whose living colonnades
Breathe forth a mystic speech in fitful sighs;
Man wanders among the symbols in those glades
Where all things watch him with familiar eyes.

(transl by Richard Wilbur)


About Slavka Sverakova

writer on art
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