György Bp. Szabó lends new meanings to the objets trouvés retrieved from rubbish bins. It is fuzzy nets made out of CDs and plastic figurines, circuits and bottle tops, pearls and pebbles, pieces of wire and thread that have made up the object collages he has collected, built, glued and applied together over the last 15 years.
True, in every household of the world we find that objects, particularly small ones, tend to escape being disposed of once they have lost their respective functions because their owners, for sentimental, nostalgic reasons of their own, cannot bring themselves to throw them away. They are then preserved in boxes holding medleys of bric a bac, their more unfortunate counterparts, however, end up in so many rubbish bins – this is the stuff that György Bp. Szabó holds in great esteem even though their previous owners had judged them worthless.
Some of his objects, e.g. broken glass, deformed bottle tops, unusable cogwheels or circuits are truly rubbish, but some others have merely lost their function or been abandoned by children at play. Once set in a new context, objects tend to tell new stories. Plastic figurines, single footballers of a table-set, astronauts and soldiers are given a surreal environment by mixing with heaps of CDs and DVDs bearing banana stickers, tassels, and flower ornaments. The deep-sea diver with an elephant’s head mixes with a plastic gesha with inscriptions in French, the soldier in a fatigue dress turns amicably to a Teddy bear, while a figurine of a car mechanic offers directions with golf-tees in his hand, and an astronaut uses a suction cup to receive messages from plastic stars and planets.
Bp. Szabó’s object collages contain such constant motifs as ID photographs, airplanes, lambs, elephant’s heads. His circular collages remind one of mandalas executed in India with minute workmanship. Some of his miniature applications are presented in plastic bags sealed off with clinical care – covering a great distance from the cultural rubbish they originate from. Larger objects like workshop waste, rusty wires, nuts and bolts, spent lightbulbs etc. are presented in sturdy, walnut-stained wooden frameworks for more archaic effect.
Works by Bp. Szabó can be approached from a great number of disciplines including cultural anthropology, history of art, philosophy of art etc. since they call upon the spectator to come closer and take a more thorough look at their sheer complexity. The stuff they are made of comes from the streets of Budapest or L.A., being out of use objects abandoned by Europeans or Americans. At the end of the day, they prompt us all to resist rather than obey the maternal advice not to pick up anything from the ground. We begin to learn that some rubbish is no rubbish at all.
Budapest Gallery - Budapest Exhibition Hall
2 December – 9 January, 2011.