Márta Czene: This is not my body
8 March 2023 – 6 April 2023

Opening: March 7, 2023, Tuesday, 6 pm

Opening speech: Viktória Popovics

Márta Czene: This is not my body

“But if not mine, then whose body is it? Perhaps Gyöngyi’s, or Vica’s, or maybe Erika’s? Have they lent me this body or have they borrowed it from me? Have they made it available for temporary use? Does it belong to the person who possesses it at the moment? To the person who sets the rules on what we can do with it and what we cannot? Or to the person who is growing inside of it, sucking up the water and nourishment in it, transforming that body?

Perhaps it is still mine, after all. But it has changed so much that I no longer can realise that, a long time ago, this body used to be me. Or rather, that it is me.

We try nudity on like a new dress, looking into the mirror as though we were making new, important, life-long acquaintance with someone. What is it that I am looking at? My body through someone else’s eyes, or someone else’s body through mine?”

The theme of the exhibition is related closely to that of Czene’s previous series. Starting out from the experience of motherhood and from her childhood memories of being born to a family of artists, she continues to explore the female image and the female identity she has developed, influenced greatly by the use of nude models by the painters in her family, and also shaped by the nude models themselves.

The focus now is the process whereby the image of the female body and the female role is constructed all through one’s childhood, based on encounters with role models and the theme of sexuality. For a little child, these notions and situations are incomprehensible and hard to access, yet, one still tries to find points of orientation and guidance in them. While the exhibition was inspired by Czene’s daughter’s age and her evolution, the artist uses memories from her own childhood as her material.

She takes two photos and a photo series as her starting point. The series shows Gyöngyi, the artist’s father’s nude model, posing on the gymnastic rings in Czene’s room. While her father is taking photos, Czene and Gyöngyi’s daughter are playing with a doll and a pram in the background.

The second photo shows the artist at the age of 7, with her cousine, both posing naked in the family’s garden after a swim. The photo was taken by the cousine’s father. In the third photo we see four girls from the family’s long-faded past.

A series of reflexions on how the female body changes and how women experience that change was inspired Balthus’s highly controversary Nude in Front of a Mantel (1955).