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Sunday, 22 February 2015

Herold/Palman (H)_interview 2nd part by Orsolya Bálint (KÖM)

Counting with the power of unforeseeable events
Accompanying the first Performing V4 – Biennial of VARP-PA Residents taking place in Prague on the 26-27-28th of February, the fine art exhibition titled CONVEX PROJECT – ICONS OF WAITING AND WASTING created by Eszter Herold & Zsuzsi Palman (HU) gives us a very intimate and sensitive point of view on the 9 months of pregnancy. We talked to Eszter and Zsuzsi about their exhibition open until 8th of March, in Alfred ve Dvoře Theatre. Zsuzsi answered us in the second part of the interview.

You have been participating in this project from the very beginning. How did the happy event in Eszter’s life (becoming expectant during the project) influence your work?
I was so happy for her, especially because I knew how much she longed for this. The fact that our duo became a trio with Álmos (her son) was very exciting; I have never had an artistic collaboration with a person “from inside” before. I think Álmos was also a part of our work, as a silent partner, with strong energies. My other experience was that Eszter's attitude, her moves and moods have also changed; she became more quiet, and moved deeper and deeper into herself. This was very good for the project and for me as well. It helped me to do the same, to turn my attention from outside to inside. I have this kind of attitude when I am creating, but this time we moved beyond our limits in a good way. I know we have to thank this to the presence of Álmos too.

What is your relationship to motherhood? How did you intend to capture the sensitive period of expecting in your videos and pictures?
I think the state of waiting to give birth can also be found when I am working on my pictures or videos. Every piece of art is a piece of me, from me, just like a child. And I have every time the feeling of emptiness when I finish one of my projects, when it is torn out of me. Today is the last day before the first exhibition (preceding the Biennial) in Budapest. After tomorrow I am going to be a bit lost for a while. From a physical point of view, motherhood is only imaginary for me now, something that is weirder and more inconceivable for me than the best science fiction movies. Finally, if I focus on my feelings, the concept of motherhood is really sweet and warm for me. Something I don't know personally, but my bones, my body, my cells have memories of it, from my mother's body, and her mother's body, and her mother's body. It is a chain; I am a part of it, even if I don't have my personal physical experience yet.

In our times we see pregnant celebrities naked on magazine covers, but pictures of breastfeeding mothers are banned from the internet. As an artist, what is your relationship to nudity, especially in portraying an expectant mother? 
This situation you have illustrated is bizarre and hypocritical. This kind of thinking is incomprehensible for me. Giving life, giving milk for a baby it is one of the most important things in the world. I can't see the problem at all with breastfeeding, neither have a problem for example with twerking as a way of self-expressing. But I have critical thoughts about those ads or videos, or any kind of appearances where the human body (female or male) is treated just as a sexual object, as something usable, eatable like a piece of candy, without respect or care. Besides, I always like to see the moving bodies, love the visual impacts of contemporary dance shows. But body is just a perishable material without spirit. So I correct myself: I always love to see how the spirit moves the bodies, even when it manifests in an everyday walk.

What did the possibility mean to you to work in the framework of VARP-PA?
It was a great opportunity to open my ideas completely, in a calm, safe situation. Didn't have to interrupt or leave my work because of my other commitments. VARP-PA has given time for me to create, and it is invaluable.

What were your first experiences in the residency program? 
I have spent some months in Spain like an Erasmus student few years ago, so I had some prior experience about scholarships, and those were positive. These positivity didn't change, and staying in Hrádec Králové was also a nice experience. Being there, working there, feeling myself a bit like an outsider – I have really liked it.

Who would you recommend the VARP-PA program to?
Who likes to travel and to meet new situations and new people. Who would like to find new channels to express her/his creativity, and sometimes gets a feeling like in the poem “Anywhere Out of the World” by Charles Baudelaire.

What other countries or specific groups or artists do you regularly work with within V4?
I haven't had this kind of cooperation yet, but I am open-minded.

Have you ever been to Prague before? 
No, I've never been in Prague before!

What do you hope to gain from participating in the Biennial?
What I usually get when I make an exhibition: activity, attention, new acquaintances, new possibilities to create together, or being part of something new. But it is always unpredictable. I usually count with the power of unforeseeable events.

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