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'In Times Gone By' by Tranker Kata and Ulbert Ádám at PINCE, Budapest

In times gone by… 

The allegorical resonating space of these fresh works brings me back somewhere before the bronze age. Maybe even further, towards times where humanism is receding, to be precise when and where humanism didn’t even exist - to the collective unconscious of humanity where myth is taking command, to its instinctual experiences and to its irrational projections. 

The one-dimensionality of the so-called peak power of human evolution has started to get obliterating together with its own creation: history and the modern myth of progression. Not by accident that the cultural and historical references of the works of Kata Tranker and Ádám Ulbert are not supposed to be read linear or exact. 

The work of Kata Tranker does not take us into militant alternative time-travel of science-fictional past or future (as if an easy reference of the Planet of the Apes would suggest that). It is rather alluding to a timeless drama unfolding by tender gestures. The smaller anthropomorphic relief works of Kata Tranker with its half-human half-monkey figures are becoming the characters of a mythical family story. It is not that surprising knowing that the previous works of Tranker were also dealing with the meta-narratives of family stories. What is rather new with the works lay in the format and embedded in the usage of the material. Evoking the anthropoid figures of monkeys she is preferably making it more archetypical. She is generalising the fragments of a family story, the new characters of the work are showing the universal relations between family members. It does so both with the figures of wondering and returning monkey children and with the flowered tomb of the couple. 

The artworks of Ádám Ulbert are referring to a more concrete story, the sarcastic allegory of the European Middle Ages: The ship of fools. The image is symbolically complex: the ship full of fools drifting with no purpose or direction on thunderous seas indicating the metaphorical raptures between the individual, the community and the society. From the smaller size bronze sculptures of Ulbert I could discover the tub ship of the fools, and also the pastel drawing of the androgynous mermaid refers back to the bust of the other portrait-like sculpture. As if they are reporting from the undifferentiated form level of deep mythology. 

There is a very important mutual characteristic both in Tranker's and Ulbert’s art: plasticity. They both handle the completely different materiality of their works in the same manner and both are keeping something fragile and ephemeral from the original material features. They are also doing it in an expressive way to preserve something rather fresh from the pieces. I would suggest that they do this for confronting this freshness of the sculptures with the characteristic of the relationship between death and statuary. Or rather I would say that they are emphasising the ever-present and inseparable twin unconsciousness of death and eternity in the sculptural activity. 

— Áron Fenyvesi

4.2.20

PINCE

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