Koronczi Endre: PLOUBUTER PARK
10 December 2014 – 6 February 2015

Ploubuter Park is not 'one' topographically confinable area, but the scene of a phenomenon, unlike 'Area 51'[i], more like the totality of otherworldly, magical 'places' where we might find anything, but only reveals itself to the insider's eyes. The places have in common that they are populated by rapidly reproducing, bizarre species. Endre Koronczi not only notices these odd, evanescent creatures that live in a kind of symbiosis, a 'symphorism' with the wind[ii], but also collects and observes them after finding them in their 'natural' habitat. After a lot of thinking, he gives a name to these places: Ploubuter Park (this is the only find in the Google search!), while he keeps examining this peculiar 'formation of species' as an existing evolutionary phenomenon. The frequency of the creatures doesn't diminish his curiosity, he doesn't take their omniscient presence for granted, and he observes with increasing attention how they stream out en masse to inhabit our most intimate spaces; they are light, ethereal, yet they appear unexpectedly, almost like an invasion, and they are even immortal as well. The scientific exploring, ontological analysis concludes that this anomalous species cannot exist without the movement of air, that is, the wind is vital for them, and for this reason they are similar to the barely definable, so far elusive thing we call 'spirit'. The spirit lives in symbiosis with the wind that makes it palpable.

The wind and the spirit are called the same name in certain religious texts[iii]. They are not identical to the Almighty, but the wind is seen as proof of His presence and infinite strength that sometimes cleans, sometimes destroys depending on its course and strength. “The biblical archetype of every speech about the spirit is the 'breath of life' that God breathed into the nostrils of the man of dust formed from the ground, thus making the man a living being, or a 'living spirit'. (Genesis 2:7). The Holy Spirit shapes this spirit by awakening faith in us.”[iv]

Koronczi has not only observed, photographed and filmed the so-called 'Holy Spirits'[v] of our age for long years (since 2008, through several projects), but also systematized them according to their habitat, behaviour and analysed characteristics, like a thorough scientist. Similar to the evil one, “He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named” in J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter stories, he didn't keep their popular name, but rather re-named them after their habitats: Ventuspiritus Ferus, Captivaspiritus Laboratis, Potestaspiritus etc.

As a result of all the scientific work resembling the Enlightenment era and the systematizing based on a hypothesis, there is now the amount of text and illustrations worth a concise encyclopedia collected. Then the enormous, structurally segmented, perspicuous material was published on a website for public use.[vi] The origin of the species, the observation and presentation of organisms and phenomena, the experiments, representations (exhibits), and artificial creations with explanations and theoretical background can all be found on the website.

If we look past the text and visualise it all somewhere on the web, in front of our computer screen or here, in the exhibition space, we realise that this 'park' is not a figment of imagination as we thought, but the very place where we live, and the artist's places (Budapest, the island of Croatian sea, Krapanj, Finland etc.). The organisms also exist, they are our own castaway creatures, the wind-powered, empty plastic shopping bags.

On their own, they lack sublimity, in fact, they are rather profane, even superfluous.

We might as well receive it with confusion that Koronczi compares these empty, wind-powered, roaming bags without content to the Holy Spirit, which is not only an anachronism, but almost a blasphemy. However, there is no need for a lengthy explanation – if we look at the photos, the built (open air) objects, the films, or the previous exhibition interiors, especially the one in the 'sacred' milieu of the Kiscell Church, we immediately understand that neither is true.

I know it from the artist that these hundreds of, despite the artist's intention “picturesque, wonderful, beautifully poetic” images that can be found in the collection of documents are actually like a malformed grimace to fate and the world; they were meant to be a crestfallen, sourly ironic, even self-ironic panorama. The reason why it didn't turn out that way might be the enormous amount of work, energy, and “enthusiasm” that Koronczi “invested” in the works.

If we returned to the artistic medium at this point and tried to place these works of no longer necessary plastic objects in its defining system, it would be easy to assign them to a flat, popular, mainstream trend and label them as 'upcycling' (having a higher value after being recycled) according to contemporary design. Because the No.1 design idea of our age starts with a serious philosophical basis, and even results in a usable end-product. But if we consider clichés like “art begins where practical use ends”, art, religion, philosophy, the natural and social sciences (politics) would never be mentioned on the same page. If we weren't thinking in current patterns, culture (art) would be there among them, in its real place, as an important area.[vii] (Because this is the artist's secret desire, and the interpretation of the three points in the title.)

When I was looking for affirmation for myself and I entered a few terms in the search field that I found relevant, surprisingly I found the (Hungarian translation from 1944) of a 1925 Spanish writing, the texts of existential philosopher José Ortega y Gasset:

“When we are in our own vital sphere, we feel like it is some kind of an infinite, unstoppable, dangerous and heavy thing. On the other hand, if we look at the world of a child or a primitive painter, we see it as a tiny, rather closed and clear-cut circle with a limited set of objects and varieties. The imaginary life that we have seen in such a contemplation seems like a light-hearted game to us, that momentarily delivers us from our own depressing and problematic existence.”

So what does it affirm? The hypothesis that Endre Koronczi's research of years is a joyful examination, when it really contradicts the actual phenomenon, because we observe something(s) at length through the eyes of the artist that we would rather not notice at all. It would be more comfortable to ignore them, to pass by them without noticing, to get used to their existence. Instead, Koronczi noticed the peculiar in the mundane, proposed a theory, struggled with collecting, systematizing, creating a structure, finding the words in order to face this seemingly insignificant thing – whose current existence is a given, continued existence is problematic – thinking about it, and finally communicating something that isn't made obvious after such an enormous work. It remains an open question.

I stubbornly kept a line in my notes for long: “Maurice Merleau-Ponty quotation from 'The Visible and Invisible'”. Eventually this missing quotation became my empty bag that quietly, weakly fell out of the text (it can be found in the chapter 'Reflection and Interrogation' of 'The Visible and Invisible', and it is mainly about 'Perceptual Faith', page 14 to 64). Instead there is a film in the exhibition that basically focuses on the same problem of several scientific fields. The human factor is often ignored by science, and Endre Koronczi presents it in the film where the task was to take a bag on a chair, with the chair, from one side of a meadow to the opposite one in windless weather without letting the bag fall off. Tarkovsky's Nostalghia features a story of similarly enormous concentration and meditation, where the main character takes a lit candle through an unused swimming pool in Italy without letting the light die out. It is a shocking analogy that both activities succeed after the third attempt, in the same amount of time almost to the second.

I chose my closing quotation from the above-mentioned Ortega text:

“It is necessary that we see ourselves clearly in every moment, whether we believe in what we think we believe in; whether the moral idea that we 'officially' accept indeed awakens the most profound energies of our personality! Through the constant clarification of our inner situation we would automatically perform a selection in culture and exclude every form that is not compatible with life, that is utopian and leads to hypocrisy. On the other hand, culture wouldn't move away from life that created it, and wouldn't freeze in the eerie distance. Thus, in the certain phases of the drama of history, when, in order to escape catastrophe, humans needed all their strength, especially the ones nourished and revived by faith in transcendental values, that is culture... 1925.”[viii]

Brigitta Muladi

English translation by Zsanett Horváth

[i] An experimental military base in Nevada, where according to urban legends, extraterrestrial research was performed.

[ii] Preceeding the topic: Endre Koronczi: Breathnotes. Works: 4 Wind, Stopped …, Elements, Breath. http://koronczi.hu/breathnotes/ Exhibition: Széljegyzetek (Breathnotes). INDA Gallery, July 9-31, 2009.

[iii] The primary meaning of the words 'pneuma' and 'psyche' express why these words were used in the authors' writings when they meant what we usually call 'spirit'. Both Greek words mean almost exactly the same: breath, respiration, wind, breeze, life etc. The Hungarian words 'lélek' and the obsolete form 'lélekzet' show some similarities too. In Hebrew texts the wind is called the same as the spirit: 'rúach'. http://igemorzsa.hu/vitatott_temak/test-lel-szellem/lelek-szellem.html

The word Spirit (Hebrew: ruah; Greek: pneuma) originally means wind or breath. The Holy Spirit is like the tempestuous, life-giving breath of the living God. “When you send your Spirit, they are created, and you renew the face of the ground.” (Psalm 104:30) “... the wind (pneuma) blows where it wants to. You can hear its roar but you don't know where it's coming from and where it goes. That's how it is for everything that was born from the Spirit.” http://old.asziv.hu/?newart=16&newmag=16&show=arch

[iv] http://www.parokia.hu/lap/matrai-orommondo/ujsag/cikk/3817/?i=643

[v] The working title of the exhibition in the Kiscell Museum. http://koronczi.blogspot.hu/search/label/HolySpirit

„Three important monotheistic religions accept, respect and celebrate the existence of the Holy Spirit: Judaism, Islam and Christianity, but they all explain its presence in different ways.” http://hu.wikipedia.org/wiki/Szentl%C3%A9lek

[vi] Eendre Koronczi: Ploubuter Park. http://www.koronczi.hu/ploubuterpark/spec/index.html

[vii] On the necessity of practical science. (A valóságközeli tudomány szükségességéről.) Világgazdaság. http://www.vg.hu/gazdasag/innovacio/valosagkozeli-tudomany-kell-362169

[viii] http://mtdaportal.extra.hu/books_kulf/ortega_y_gasset_jose_korunk_feladata.pdf

(A note: The sentence in the place of the ellipsis continued as such: … thus, in the single hour in which Europe is living – everything is lost.)