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Maria Chilf’s: Anything Can Happen to Teddy

Exhibition date: 
19 January - 19 February 2005

The cosmic landscape fragments and organic watercolour forms of Mária Chilf’s earlier works have been exhibited at numerous venues both in Hungary and abroad (ex. Ludwig Museum, Strabag Painting Competition 2004; Ateliers Pro Arts 2003; Metall Labor, Bitterfeld 2003; Drawing Center, New York, 2001).

This time the artist has paired her watercolour technique with a new thematic; her work is presented in the form of diary-like notes. The lifelike, painted details (human heart, aortas, natural elements) and symbolic indications of figures (Teddy Bear, the devil, the human form) take part in a fantasy world that is communicated to us in the shape of philosophically embedded free associations. Among the personal stories we are guided along by the titles of the paintings – ironically articulated, puzzling insights (“T knows, he can only get out of the tunnel if he first goes into it”; “The thing that one cannot talk about, but one mustn’t be silent about”; “Fight or flight?”). The works speak about the search for identity, about questions of relationships, about strange – often inexplicable and ambivalent – human feelings, about surpassing one’s real or imagined limits and the dangers inherent therein.

At the same time, these images fed by subjective experiences and feelings (for what other option would there be?), could be regarded as an illustrated encyclopaedia of general human dilemmas, metaphors in drawing of the problems encountered in one’s search for the self. In looking at these surreal fictions constructed in such exact detail, it is often difficult to tell whether Teddy is merely a toy bear or our own bittersweet alter ego.