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Resources for Girls

Today’s ideal woman is multifunctional. She combines traditional female roles with the modern image of the smart, sexy woman. Her exciting radiance emanates precisely from the flashes of unexpected role changes. Eszter Sipos follows a similar path when working out the refined broth of her paintings: Beauty and knowledge is blended with a touch of coquettish charm. At times, their surfaces are babbly and gushing, at other times philosophically succinct. Their characters are so familiar (frequently taken out of magazines), still, become unusual through the painter’s peculiar point of view. Her works manifest the "bipolar personality" of today's painting, and their peculiar character derives from the dual appeal of tradition and innovation, abstraction and figurativism, popular and elite culture.

Zsuzsi's garden (2004) accurately reflects this duality. In this work, Eszter Sipos places the traditional genres of interior, genre painting, and portrait into the new context of geometrical abstraction. The latter's masculine construction is reinterpreted by the rhythmic patterns and the broad field of the warm pink. Figure and object are formed through deep observations and precise outlines against the twofold background. By projecting concrete figurative and abstract visual formations onto one other, Eszter Sipos adjusts the shape of the canvas to a subjective process of visual perception, in which the viewer emphasizes those elements that are important to them.

This subjectivity also characterizes the next work, Parallel steps (2008). Its composition evokes minimal art-like sequences and suggests the scientific analysis of its subject matter. In fact, the picture sequence is a random record of personal and incidental visual experience, a sort of "girls' blog". Beyond the attractively mustered fragments, the ensemble engages in a secret dialogue with a photo installation from the 70s, however, it substitutes its documentary, fierce feminism by a gaping, chattering attitude.

In her painting Hints (2008), Eszter Sipos abstracts the concrete, in parts, openly pleasing world of the earlier genres. The paintings continue to portray everyday life; however, familiar people and places are distilled into icons, visual simple sentences. Their ambivalence arises mostly from the fact that the morally overwhelming message is restricted within the boundaries of the stylistically functional pictorial language. Ultimately, the joint proliferation of verbal and visual commonplaces is provocative: it blatantly resists the requirements of beauty and wit, while it exposes the inability of art to provide moral teaching.

Similarly to Hints, Women’s’ Magazine (2009) also flirts with popular culture, but this time it examines its tinsel-glazed character. The gesture which copies a page of a concrete magazine with the addition of a gilded background is just as provocative as the blatant puritanism of Hints. On the one hand, the precision of workmanship is remarkable, the idea of copying shows professional humility; on the other, the overt appropriation is an audacious gesture, which is aimed at the insolent flawlessness of the mechanical picture just as much as at the sort of appropriations in which pop art is a leading art form.

One of the main characteristics of these paintings is the connection with the viewer (whom they wish to please), and the discussion with so many a pictorial form of the past and present. It is a sort of old-fashioned debate, where they consider the old and the new, ask questions, argue, and then explain their peculiar points of view…which this time is a little girly, a little brainy, a little old-fashioned, and very modern.

Emese Révész
translation: Júlia Vajda