Sándor Solymos
architect and philosopher

 

As I do not want to start with a commonplace, let me start with a few places.

Up above - Down below
In(side) - Out(side)
Here - There

Who is down to earth has the sky above him. Who is up on the top of a hill has the landscape down below him. Who has gone through the sufferings of hell has come back up from down below. Who is tossed by the winds in the middle of the sea thinks of those who are safe on land, out of danger, and this thought gives him courage. Who is on the shore suffering the pains of hope is fervently wishing the return of those who are out on the high seas. Who is going insane with helplessness here on shore would rather be there to help those others exerting himself in the struggle to escape, praying with them saying "if only we got out of here, if only we were back there on shore.

These are places of "either/or".

What is down, is not up. It is either downor up.
What is inside, is not outside. It is either inside or outside.
What is here, is not there. It is either here or there.

There are, or may well be, places of "neither/nor", too.

And where is what is neither down nor up? It is both up and down.
Where is what is neither inside, nor outside. It is both inside and outside.
Where is what is neither here nor there. It is both here and there.

There must be, then, "both" or "also" places, too?

Where what is down is also up, what is inside is also outside, what is here is also there.

Exhibition venues are such "also" places.
The metaphysics of facts and hopes, the reality of being in two places at the same time is both inside and outside as we share it in the exhibition hall while we are also above and below, inside and outside, here and there where the exhibited works really are.

A place in space is a locus in language. If you look at, establish and interpret the place, your point of view becomes a linguistic fact, a fact of locality, while there are other points of view just as there are, also, different viewers and places that change in time, in nature and in significance. The "work" that snatches me away from this place in the turmoil of everyday life and takes me there where the "work" really is, where it really belongs to, from the linguistically identifiable physical place to the intellectually interpretable metaphysical place.

What is physical and existed at some time in the past is nor no longer what it used to be or had to be. What is physical and exists now is still not what it is going to be or will have to be. What is metaphysical and exists is neither down below, inside, here and now nor up above, outside, there and then.

Things exist independently from us, things have their independent natures, places, values and essences. If this were not so we would not be here either. Being in two places at the same time, the reality of facts and hopes is what an exhibition is.

It is where both the physical and the metaphysical are present. And the physical is present also as metaphysical while the metaphysical is present also as physical.

The statues, the drawings, the works: they are here, in front of us. They are down below and up above, inside and outside, here and there, now and then. They are both in space and time and out of space and time.

We encounter their size, form and shape first. We encounter their surfaces, those masterfully elaborated drawings which make real mass and surface disappear in light, and by the help of which we enter imaginary spaces and imaginary worlds without needing the assistance of Computer and High Tech. We have an experience of space which we know has always been there except we never believed what it was like and that we would ever be able to see it. Like a hologram with its virtual space that involves us in its rotating, the vanishing surfaces of polished chromium steel and the pseudo-spaces of rotating coils of light unfolding in light and involving us in their rotating put our attention through their test. This space is not seen and projected into our mind by our eyes; this space is inner experience projected onto the outside.

Like gnomons of ancient civilisations, the works take us out of time. Whirlwinds and gyres that exist in some other world stand frozen into stillness before our eyes; or perhaps they are whirling and spinning in another dimension of time.

Still, in the duality of "sacred" and "profane", they are present as physical and metaphysical experience with their nature of "either/or", "neither/nor" or, more accurately, of "both". They constitute a vortex of concentric forms organised around a single centre, or a vortical drift of forms from one centre to another, motionless choreography of phase frames, elements and essences being in the same place. This works are metaphysical islands in the swarm of the exhibition room. We encounter drawings, plans, works awaiting realisation. It is through these drawings that we reach out to the place and the time where and when the work should be, where and when we can explore a dramatic space, of a temple of initiation, at the intersecting point of the axes of a profane liturgy, contemplating with awe the incomprehensible infinity of space and time. The structure of space laden with highly charged promises, the ritual space of painful hopes and the permanence of the centre and the dynamism of axial rotation jointly provide the compositional requirements of whirling circles, drifting rectangles, intersecting axes, infinite lines, multiplied spheres and rectangular solids among which we wander.

The fact that our existence is imprisoned by its beginning and end, the severely delimited immobility of our mind and imagination is made bearable by the expectation and hope of possible movement towards what is limitless.

Where facts and hopes coincide there is the place of total regularity, the place of timelessness. There the choice of either/or does not make sense, there is no rationality in neither/nor, and "also" has no meaning. Timeless perfection is a closed circle with one single centre.

But we can think about the perfection of the circle at all because the circle does not exist in physical terms. Every physical circle is a little hope, the evanescent projection of the trust in the existence of the metaphysical fact. The ripples of the pebble thrown into the water, the aura of the Moon, the arch of the rainbow are near-circular illusions, images drawn by evanescent mediums, by haze and cloud. But just as we have seen circles in pieces, in slices and in ruins, just as we have seen circles casting a long shadow or distorted into ellipses we make ourselves resigned to the spectacle of distortion, ruin and projection while putting our trust in the metaphysical existence of what is perfect, whole and beautiful.

The excitement of the imperfection of existence in space and time, the adventure of facts and hopes, the promise of getting from one place to another imbues with significance the fragmentary, the irregular, the "spacio-temporal" projection, the "ellipse", the closed and self-recursive sinus curve which, as is known, has two geometric centres and one longitudinal axis. In works of art that intimate something of the metaphysical - or divine - essence we encounter "spacio-temporal" projections, "ellipses" rather than non-spacial and atemporal ideal objects, "circles."

Why is this so?

Offhand, we could say that this is because of the opposition of "organic" and " rational" forms, because we are "thrown into" spacetime, mutability and mortality, etc.

This is either true, or not. This is neither true, nor not true. Or it is trues and, also, it is not true.

What is more relevant here: the other day I had a conversation with the sculptor and we touched on things like the Moon and the Sun, on darkness, light and a number of other important matters, including "ellipses", those double-focus curves of which the circle is a boring and regular and, more accurately, very rare instance.

She said something about this, an what she said was better and more beautiful than anything ever said about the same thing in books of mathematics and geometry. She went on like this: "The orbit of both the Earth and the Sun are elliptical. The Sun is in one of the two foci of the Earth's orbit. The Earth is in one of the two foci of the Moon... But what is in the other focus of the two?... The imaginary mirror-image of the mass - of the Sun, of the Earth - that gives motion its meaning, that keeps things on their orbit."

I wish to add this: The other focus is a metaphysical place. It is the essence of the work of art. The hopeful mirror-image of the mass that keeps things on their orbit, the mirror-image that reappears, intensifies and projects according to our distance to it as it changes in time. This is the place where, when approached, there changes to here, where there again has a meaning on account of the here. The other focus is that metaphysical place where physical law is valid again, where the plus and minus of existence change places. It is the place where movement is generated both by, prompted by the attraction of metaphysics, approaching it and, necessitated by the physical force of gravity, moving away from it.

 

Translated by Ferenc Takács