Judit Horváth Lóczi interview
“Our democratic society needs its unique and diverse cultural and media landscape in this historical situation, which was unimaginable until recently,” said German culture minister Monika Grütters. “The creative courage of creative people can help to overcome the crisis. We should seize every opportunity to create good things for the future. That is why the following applies: artists are not only indispensable but also vital, especially now”.
These lines, coming from the German government in March 2020, confirm my thoughts about the role of artists, especially now. This is why I was asking contemporary artist Judit Horváth Lóczi a few questions about the current situation. I was curious about how she was doing, what she was thinking, under lockdown?
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Day By Day
Judit Horváth Lóczi interview
- How can artists in Budapest now help society? How can artists, with their creative courage, point to a better future?
- To start with personal memory, I learned from my parents that love, knowledge, and enjoyment of works of art can help in difficult situations. It is a recognition that gives a sense of security even in the darkest period. This means that I fully agree with the German Minister. Indeed, consumption of art is not a physical necessity, but at the same time, the human soul needs spiritual nourishment even in such a problematic period, otherwise, it withers away. It is gratifying to see that there are countries - not so far away from us - where they understand this at the leadership level.
Even though Hungarian artists do not receive any help or support yet, the art scene is turbulent, and better and better initiatives are being taken. Just for the sake of example: there are online, free theatre performances, audiobooks, and guided tours available. There are works of fine art put up for auction (where revenue is used to support hospitals), or you might want to look for podcasts just launched. Many groups have formed in cyberspace, it is very good to see that this otherwise quite divisive scene comes together. And we support those working against the virus, each other, and also those who are open to artistic experiences. I guess and even see that there are many people on the recipient side welcoming this, and I trust that they will draw strength from these contents. In the words of art historian János Schneller: "Man defends himself with art."
- Do you get any extra inspiration from such a historic situation? Do you guys feel more motivated now? Does isolation change much in artistic work?
- Indeed, this is a situation so subversive around us that we have to react somehow. I remember the first week I froze, and then I started to work out the difficult thoughts and feelings.
For me, this has proven itself at other times; I do the creation with a therapeutic purpose and frequency, and it helps a lot.
Of course, an artist is often alone, locking herself in her apartment, her studio, her rehearsal room, creating. But for those with a family, this is not a viable option now. This is because caring for children comes first, which makes you busy almost all day. Now that space and time have narrowed, instead of the studio, I can only create at home on the dining table, near my family. So the works now shrink, and techniques get simplified. I started a series of quarantine, which consist of small (around 15x5cm) paper sections, recording my current, often not very positive thoughts. Every day I post a new piece on my Instagram and Facebook page. Although I started this series just to ease my soul, I get a lot of feedback that this helps others, to process, and to visualize their problems. And it's a fantastic feeling.
You Can Do That
- How do you intend to (re)connect with your audience in these circumstances? What new tools and platforms you would think are going to help to achieve this?
- Because of the aforementioned series, I am much more actively involved in cyberspace than before. Like many others, I cling to the online community thread when I can no longer embrace my parents and friends. So at least I keep in touch with other art lovers through the platforms provided by the internet.
Interesting ideas come to mind at such times. I’ve already done guided tours, given an online interview in my studio. I also follow several gallery open calls where I can meet artists who are otherwise light years away from me (and not just in km). The parallel reality of the internet is very interesting: we can be close to someone who is far away, but at the same time, we cannot see a person close to us. By the way, I’m focusing on Instagram, Facebook, updating my website often.
- What you would think the single biggest change is going to be in the art world in Budapest once this crisis ends?
- I think, or rather hope, that the Hungarian art community has realized that it is not possible to stay afloat anymore with semi-functional websites in an international environment. Yes, you need to be present in the virtual space by offering fresh content on other platforms as well. I hope this good direction will not change at the end of this unusual situation.
However, I can't wait to go to exhibitions again. I’m sure I’ll appreciate every real minute spent with art better.
Running is my LSD
- Is there any “Lockdown” piece of art produced recently that you can share with the readers?
- I’ve mentioned before the series of quarantine I am working on during the curfew period. Every day I post a new piece of art, which I usually create the night before when my family is asleep already. Creating something every day helps a lot, and I also do sports, without which I would have lost the way.
There is another project in which I have been an active participant from the beginning. I have worked hard to make (fine) art one of our cornerstones. This is Béla Bartók Boulevard, behind which our civic association stands. Now I feel like the quarantine has brought out the best in the team. The members work together in a never-before-seen collaboration, to be at least virtually visible in the absence of physical presence. Among other things, we will be introducing introductory videos about each member and organizing a virtual festival in May. Therefore it is worth paying attention to our pages.
- Is there any way for art lovers to support your work, and how?
- Now it is very important that those to whom art gives energy support the artists somehow. There are many ways to do this; they can send a positive message, buy a piece of art, anything like that. I am happy for every encouraging word people have for me. It makes my day when someone writes to me, and people take this step now much sooner than usual. This is a very good direction! Although this is not why I have started it, I’m happy that my supporters are buying from my quarantine series. Anyone able can support artists this way too, helping them not to give up.
Maternal Instincts - Worry
The art of Judit Horvath Loczi is full of playfulness and preciseness at the same time. Her toolbar is well-diversified. She is familiar with the depths of abstract painting and assemblages (like art- boxes and books). Besides the classical materials, she likes to discover and use extreme substances. In her artwork, she explores the colored reflections of light and shadow. As an inspiration, she is always using a life situation or personal story which she abstracts and visualizes with basic geometrical forms. That is how she processes the events of her life, releases herself from tensions, and reminds herself of the happy moments. Every artwork is like a page from a diary of hers.