Sleeper holiday  | Mária CHILF
Sleeper holiday | Mária CHILF

May 15, 2024 - June 15, 2024

How are the great moments, figures, and memories of the past incorporated into our everyday lives and celebrations, and what do they mean to us today? What weight are the rites, symbols, or symbolic events handed us to carry? To what extent are their meanings transformed with or without external influence? Mária CHILF's latest solo exhibition, Sleeping Holiday, at VILTIN Gallery, approaches the reference points of historical memory and personal and collective past processing along these questions.

The exhibition is a collage of randomly selected snapshots of Budapest's 'nationwide' march, a collage of an endless celebration and shared historical memory. The Onceuponacity's Onceuponaholiday - as CHILF calls the event she brought to life. The documentary images of metropolitan or national festive events, marches, rallies, and solidarity marches are primarily memories of the participating people and also images of the recent past of our collective consciousness. Objective and subjective images and tableaus of our historical memory that smooth over the not always carefree memories of the past.

'By editing the photographs, my relationship to the past has also changed: through violent cutting, I have redrawn the (unknown) figures, possessed them, appropriated them, and 'rewrote' them into new patterns. By 'redrawing' the found photograph as a memory trace, I followed the lines, formed new lines, found threads to the photographs distant in time and space, and thus the images became my personalized documents.'

The 'photo drawings' have been recurring in Mária CHILF's work in the last decade, first, in the context of her family archives, then by expanding her focus in time and space, they have become part of her creative process. The airy and ephemeral lace-like cutouts and perforations complemented by watercolors evoke the actual memories and their rewritten variants concurrently. By incorporating photography, classically labeled as an objective medium, the artist generates an internal tension, as the image associations of her compositions and the layers of superimposed watercolor and photo cutouts alternate the initial view, the reality.

CHILF creates a new narrative with sometimes ironic, sometimes surreal overtones. In a frieze-like or patterned arrangement of superimposed eras, events, and myths, the marching or floating iconic public figures or figures from the Hungarian art scene provide only a hint of support. Time is homogenizing, and CHILF's compositions, with their infinite horizons, make us aware that we can neither know the beginning nor the end of this process, but only a fragmented moment.

CHILF Mária (*1966, Târgu Mures; lives and works in Budapest) is contemporary Hungarian art's leading figure; she graduated from the painting and intermedia department of the Hungarian University of Fine Arts in 1995. From 2004 to 2007, as a DLA student at the University, she was the teaching assistant to internationally recognized neo-avantgarde artist Dóra Maurer. From 2016, she was an assistant professor; from 2022, she was an associate professor. In addition to the Munkácsy Mihály Prize (2005) and the STRABAG International Painting Prize (2004), she was the recipient of the Ludwig Foundation Scholarship (1995), a DAAD Scholarship (1997-98), a Hungarian Academy of Rome Scholarship (1998), and Eötvös (1995, 2001) and Derkovits (1996, 1999) Fellowships. In addition to numerous national and international exhibitions, her retrospective exhibition entitled The Patterns Bind, held at the Institute of Contemporary Art - Dunaújváros in 2023, won the AICA Prize. Her works are in numerous private and public collections in Hungary and abroad, including the Ludwig Museum Budapest, the Hungarian National Gallery, the Budapest History Museum ? Municipal Gallery, and the Frauenmuseum Bonn (DE).