Viktória Maróti, a modern Arachne
She loves the poetry of opposites, the fertility of oxymora. Trained at the Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design in Budapest, Viktória Maróti shares with her famous predecessor a taste for experimentation and transdisciplinarity. In 1923, Der Sturm Gallery in Berlin featured the avant- garde artist’s Telephonbilder (telephone pictures) – works on enamelled porcelain “whose colours observe subtle variations according to the enlargement or reduction of the composition”. As for the young Hungarian ceramic artist, she has been attempting since 2018 to transmute porcelain into textile within a strange alchemy. Honeycombed geometric cones (Shelter, 2019- 2023), meshes mounted on walls (Wall objects, 2021-2023), flexible woven cylinders (Woven Dissolve, 2018)... Viktória Maróti designs and produces series of ceramic artworks with the appearance of 3D textiles, in an array of colours ranging from black to white and from cobalt blue to pastels.
After dipping yarn into the porcelain slip (liquid porcelain), she then weaves it around wooden sticks previously steadied on a clay base, from bottom to top, superimposing layers until the slip dries. Then she fires at 1240 degrees, until yarn and wood burn away. “My works question and push back the limits of the materials. Is porcelain capable of a transformation that might mimic another medium? My pieces are the result of an experimental reflection on the weaving technique, which allows the creation of structures at the opposite of porcelain’s characteristics. The simultaneous use of several media gives rise to hybrid objects that visually deceive the senses. By touching them, the viewer discovers an unexpected material”, the kaolin weaver explains.
Within her Budapest studio, the designer and ceramic artist especially created some new avatars of her Shelter series for her solo show at the Galerie de l’Ancienne Poste: “This series represents a higher level of development of my work. I named it so because I associate it with a nest due to its shape, which in my eyes takes on a protective meaning”, she says. Whether white, cobalt blue or black, those large ceramic cocoons with the texture of tapestry and the feel of porcelain are conic sculptures retaining the memory of the yarn that structured them before vanishing.
This symbiotic process was deemed a “wonderful intertwining concept” by critic and curator Judith Schwartz, a professor emeritus at the New York University. From knotwork to interlace designs, Viktória Maróti weaves a web of intimately linked artwork: “When I get involved into my work process, my ideas come seamlessly and all my pieces are connected to each other like links in a chain. The touch aspect is essential to me when I create a piece. I feel like my hands are also my mind.” In this respect, this modern Arachne shares Paul Valéry’s view (L’Idée fixe ou Deux Hommes à la mer, 1932) that “The mind begins and ends at our fingertips...”
Journalist and art critic
Translated by Marina Duval Matthews