Hungary as a theme is not new in Herbert Aniko’s work. Herbert, in fact, has reflected on her intricate relationship to the country in several of her installations, video clips and watercolour paintings. The peculiar style—renderred often in a lyrical key—can bring forth and trigger both the sad and joyful sides of our memories, emotions and mental association.
The new piece entitled Dive-bomb could be considered to be a sequel to two older watercolour paintings, namely My Sweet Home (2014) and The Palm of the Rain’s Hand (2014). In the former piece the figure of the artist prudishly holds the map of Hungary in front of her naked body as if seeking cover from the viewer’s penetrating gaze. Respectively, in the other picture Hungary appears as a little pink cloud that is shedding rain on an umbrella held by the now half-naked (perhaps less vulnerable and less exposed) figure of the artist.
It feels as if the new piece, Dive-bomb, was about the same female figure enjoying the temporary calm after the rain of the previous picture. This time it is a half-figure, though, that is depicted sitting with downcast eyes. What’s more, the picture ’’quivers’’ as well: it actually comes to life in an animation that is placed, framed in white, on the wall. Next to this the concrete pieces of the watercolour appear too.
According to Herbert this all has a kind of mathematical elegance: with one female figure, one green, leaf-covered Hungary and 48 exquisitely cut leaves that add up to an animation on which we can again see a self-portrait-like figure on whose head the leaves are falling one by one from the Hungary-shaped form floating above her.
Hungary that so far has been depicted as barren and of singular colour here turns into a lush and leafy green form. Nature and the appearance of new life on ’’the map’’ presumably signifies the painter’s increasing interest in the future besides the present. There is a slightly more optimistic aura to it than to the previous pieces. Although we see leaves falling, like from trees in the autumn, the sentiment of hope is indeed detectable. At least, there is a glimpse.
text: Urai Dorottya, translation: Kaposvári Márk