Luca Korodi: Far away from Africa

Opening speech of art historian Áron Fenyvesi

After her recent experimentation with unusual factures in her pictures, often painted on patterned oriental textile surfaces, Luca Korodi has found a radically different technique to build a bridge between the audience and her indispensable concept of exoticism. In her latest one-person exhibition multi-layered ornamentation is replaced by a less evident, more symbolic expression of exoticism.

As a regular terrene of her field research, Korodi’s pictorial universe attempts to articulate the contemporary methods of landscape painting, which provides another opportunity to peel off obscurity from the unfamiliar. The artist’s emotionally impregnated, subjective landscapes are highly symbolic, even if we clearly recognise the familiar building structures hidden behind. Korodi’s pictures are capable of turning the way too familiar views of Budapest into a terra incognita. The familiar scenes like the bridges of the Danube are reinterpreted by the hazy shadows of dawn to create the illusion of a collective night-blindness. This effect creates a feeling of alienation which gives the ordinary an exotic touch. With the city resembling an expressive arc-sodium jungle, the resulting symbolic context conveys an extrinsic meaning making the familiar look unfamiliar.

Korodi’s paintings are not simple architectural portrays, because her scenes are largely manipulated by frames, zoom-ins, perspective changes, masking, and other techniques. This sort of painting method and visual approach utilise the image manipulation techniques of the post-digital era, including overexposed images and motion blurs. The intensive colours of nightlights and the shifting rhythms and sequences in the pictures suggest a reference to contemporary party-culture.

In Korodi’s obscure landscapes bridges play a very important role, as if they connected unfamiliar lands and states of mind, for example Budapest with Africa. However, it doesn’t really matter what sort of things the bridge connects. The most important thing is that the artist should emphasise its connective function and recognise her role as a visual mediator between the audience and herself. In Korodi’s system, bridges are firm points of orientation, no matter where you start from and where you get. It is much more important to get across the bridges in the pictures and think about if Budapest can really be exotic to us. Are we, urban citizens, exotic at all? Where is the boundary of terra incognita? Are we familiar to each other, or to other people? Is it possible to map our neighbourhood completely to say it wouldn’t show us anything new? Sometimes a looming daybreak is enough to feel lost in the middle of a strange jungle.

Luca Korodi’s paintings inspired me to think about such dilemmas, and now, I'd like to invite you to carry on playing the dilemma game.

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