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Transitional Space I.

YEAR: 2011
SIZE: 150×50×10cm
TECHNIQUE: Graven, painted corten steel sheet

The perspective of a city

“The conscious perfectionism of Marcell Németh’s complex and sophisticated working method is closely related to the themes of his reliefs. What appear on the rigid, hard material of the metal sheet are the motifs of industrial suburbs, frozen, formally bare, and stripped of all signs of life by the artist. There is no human figure, flora of fauna to add nuance or colour to these unnoticed areas that are the by-products, as it were, of urbanization. The arid infinity of motorways, the jumbled rhythm of electricity pylons and lines, the complex space systems of under- and overpasses: so many of what Marc Augé called non-places, locations without identity, relations and history, which consequently do not belong to, and do not act as the scenes of, collective memory; they are identical solely with their own functions, being transitional zones of sorts. Though Augé’s theory, which responds to a global phenomenon of the turn of the millennium, offers an impressive frame for the deeply rooted contradictions of urban life, Marcell Németh’s art is not to be viewed only through the French anthropologist’s lens.

This is because Németh’s starting point is always a real sight he knows; when he represents it, however, he does not seek to simply depict it and make it identifiable: by stripping the structure of superfluous motifs, he reveals its essence, in an attempt to capture the message of a distinctive aesthetic, sent from the universe of unremarkable suburbs.

The world he portrays is both surrealistically unrealistic and disconcertingly familiar. Time stops in Marcell Németh’s metal reliefs, all traces of the ego are removed, the emphasis is on the anonymity of the space as the artist assumes an objective and remote position. However, what this economy of content, this condensation of the industrial “cliché,” intensifies is exactly the meditative aspect. Because on closer inspection, these impressions of ignored places that ooze with loneliness, these worm’s-eye views of menacing pylons, these monotonous motorways and overpasses distorted by the fisheye lens, are disquietingly familiar. They are all part of our lives, and we do not really want get more intimate with them.”

Contemporary Art From Hungary- 17 / 2018 

Noémi Szabó