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The Window Giraffe's Smile

Ablak-Zsiráf was a picture book from which we learned how to read when we could not yet read.In the same way, Sylvia Pàsztor helps us to read the life cycles and nature of animals – or ‘creatures’ as she prefers to call them.

In evolutionary terms, there is no fundamental boundary between humans and animals. Fundamentally, humans are radically different from animals and they think that they are superior to animals. This hubris has various forms of expression that span our existence, to which we base observations and derive judgments. Most people think that only humans have been gifted with a soul, based on the beliefs expressed in Abrahamic religions.
Sylvia Pàsztor’s art doesn’t differentiate between humans and animals, and treats both as creatures. The term ‘creatures’ is often used disparingly or equated with grotesque figures, but she equates the word with a created being. She is focusing on the visual rather than the philosphical implications of animal and human interactions.

But she gives us a new perspective on creatures and creation.
Sylvia Pásztor drives is this primordial springiness, that which emerges, emerges, that which moves and moves us, what wants to be seen, what wants to be drawn.

Sylvia Pasztor’s observations, experiences, and interactions are transformed and emerge in her art.
Myths, fairy tales, and cultural references have all played a part in influencing her art in a indirect way. She does not want to demonstrate knowledge, but rather pursues the ‘what’ in the creation of forms more than the ‘how’ or the ‘why’: Her art is not instructional in nature but pursues a deeper understanding of creation in all of its processes, cycles, and forms.

“I have a great curiosity for creatures, the birth, death and decay of them as well as their respective movement while they are alive”.
When I observe animals, I live in that moment of time and forget about everything else. I focus on form, aesthetics, selection of forms, the creative process, and reinterpret the essence of the animal. What I am so interested in doing animal artwork? Actually, it was the other way around. They inspired me to picture them in art.

Getting close to creatures and expressing her impressions is an artistic urge that is inherent in her.
The focus of her work is on graphics and hand drawing.

Her medium is usually paper, cardboard or wood. She also utilizes wall surfaces, both indoors and outdoors. Her medium is usually paper, cardboard, or wood, though she also utilizes both indoor and outdoor wall surfaces. She uses Indian ink, charcoal, water colors, acrylic paints and pencil to formulate forms. Color fills her pictorial spaces: “I squeeze all I can from the materials I use and shift levels of meaning. The trivial becomes significant, the ugly becomes beautiful, the inconspicuous becomes apparent.

A famous children’s book in Hungary was “Ablak-Zsiráf”, in German “Window Giraffe”, which shows children the world in an encyclopedia from A to Z. One can imagine Sylvia Pásztor’s happy person who draws her own encyclopedia – of Affe bis Zebra.

From Ape to Zebra. She is an eye candy collector: of situations, points of view, details that she captures on paper in drawings in physical, sensual, intuitive processes itself were the actual purpose.

She is an eye-candy collector of situations, points of view, and details of what she sees. She captures these on paper with drawings to express sensual and physical characteristics and intuitive thinking. All of this is her main focus in her art.

She regularly observes and draws in nature to be as close as possible to the creatures she portrays.
Their environment plays a crucial role in making them who they are.

In her first academic year at the Magyar Képzőművészeti Egyetem in Budapest, she began using a sketch diary which acted as a catalyst for her future work.
In the following years she studied anatomy and the intersection of the physical and spirtual nature in the creatures she observed. She was drawn to visit the Hungarian Puszta several times.

Living with the last wild horses on earth— the Przewlaksi horses, gave her the opportunity to closely observe and study their behavior. This led her to ask many questions about the difference between living in captivity and living in the wild for the horses.

One question that preoccupies her is to what extent an animal remains autonomous when it comes in contact with humans.
In the same way, she is interested in observing how animals influence/affect humans when they come in contact with each other. As they interact and get to know each other better, humans and horses begin to communicate in various ways. Of course, wild animals are not as interested in people as people are in them.
“The reduction of elements to simple lines helps me to see and process the essentials.” I am not trying to make a photographic reproduction but express what I am observing in a deeper way.

Our view of images has changed in the last century in that we are flooded with photographic images which have become a palimpsest for the original. We are seeking for a new insight into the original something more than a photo can offer. Sylvia tries to capture the experience of the moment in all of its fullness.

Her work takes place both on site and in the studio. She draws or paints with a fluid free style spotaneously. She tries to quickly capture the essence of the moment before its gone. Artistic decisions are made to get the best results to make her abstract impressions visual.

We don’t have to look for templates and allusions because we as viewers can start over with the artist and draw the lines from the object to the paper to the eye. Her works move between the immediacy of what is experienced and later processing in the studio. The directness and the abruptness of the drawings have gone through a process of reconstruction.

The pictures were created in the studio, that is, the immediacy subsequently created. At the same time, drawing is for her a holding, an inner holding in front of things, which becomes an observation and a hold for herself. She allows herself to hold on to trying things out, starting with individual, repetitive elements, shapes, lines, movements. Understanding drawing as action means: to start drawing in order to find the form – “a mixture of doing and seeing”, as William Kentridge puts it. The choice of materials, paper, charcoal, ink, acrylic, pencil these qualities take shape. The drawing is the artist’s claim to be able to capture the movement of observation, to show the passing as such. The fleeting becomes manifest and vivid as well as remaining mysterious in some ways. Certainly, we do not process everything we see as an image. But: we recognize visual representations of all kinds, precisely because of the immanent character of a sign, as an image.

No picture without signs. Because ultimately the line is only something other than a surface as a mathematical abstraction. Every point on paper is already an expansion, an expansion. Every line creates a difference and opens up spaces whose permeability and at the same time the ability to capture something determine the overall picture, whereby it speaks for the work when the question of what the overall picture where the frame is drawn – are we as viewers part of it? –Unanswered, remains unfinished. As a reproduced, i.e. brought out perception, the effect unfolds with the artist at a different time. This could also be referred to as a verification of the complexity fit: this is the moment when we resort to other media in order to bring the complexity of a work of art and the complexity of the viewer’s environment together, Irritations and productive failure included. Sylvia Pásztor’s drawings also challenge us to continue the lines – outside of themselves. Drawing thus follows a logic of blurring more than painting (M. Serres). The world is full of signs in graphic form. In the world we encounter lines strokes in infinite forms: as a gutter, the edge of a table, as a twig, as a shadow, as a trouser hem, or as a horizon. Sylvia’s goal is to invite the viewer to experience and interpret the images she makes.

She has enjoyed creating many wall murals, in which she feels her art effects the viewing public in a profound way. She carries an ancient artistic tradition of mural painting as can be seen in the prehistoric cave paintings of the “Grotte de Lascaux” in France or the wall graffiti in Pompeii. She uses primeval animal images that have always been a source of artistic inspiration down through the ages.

We are still living in the era of a ‘privilege of the visual’ (McLuhan) ; at the same time, the replacement by something else is already imminent, which combines text / image / characters / code into a new diagrammatic form and that with the ‘digital’ safe is insufficiently described. In addition, it is an awkward term when digitalis still – following the linguistic bottlenecks – points back to the tactile, the finger. In this epistemological situation, drawing as a cultural practice points back and forth at the same time. It almost encyclopaedically spans the arc from the Lascaux caves to the construction drawings with Auto-CAD, the Sgrafitti from Pompeij differs technically (the pen / the box in the hand – the picture on the wall) from the graffiti on railway containers. In terms of media technology, the drawing is at the very beginning of human expressiveness and has not stopped making it our task to let the signs in the cave and the signs of the world run through our heads in lines – and with a smile at how many words were necessary to say something so simple that the drawing is effective, Sylvia Pásztor presents us with her own version of the Ablak-Zsiráf, and we learn from her wide love of animal creatures—her ‘Affe bis Zebra’ to see animals in a more complete way—both their good and hard times.

Dr.Eric Piltz
Translation: Peter van Gorder