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Maja és Reuben Fowkes, in: Time Out Budapest, 2011 April, p.66.


Video-resume about the today closed exhibition "Emotional Space":


Text: Csaba Nemes.

Emotional Space

Katarina Šević: 'Stories from the Mine' (costumes), 2011

Participating Artists:  Csaba Nemes & Katarina Šević

Curator: Erzsébet Pilinger

23 March - 21 May 2011.

The latest works of Katarina Šević and Csaba Nemes evokes different forms and aspects for how to live the national entity and how to represent it. Although their works show us a critical and analytic view of the nationalism and the national representation’s private and state forms, with their topics they visualize the emotional fields inside the society.

 „Kurultáj“ is the title of a series of paintings by Csaba Nemes, what evokes the national sentiments in a communal level and in a creative way too. He also shows us a meeting, which can be called almost a festival with those people, who wants to subsist these feeling as a part of their daily routine.

He evokes the places of these imaginary ancient buildings with such devices, like photos or the method of the paintworks, and with these tools, he can develop a kind of distance. His works show a real field, however they appear as a part of a vision, what Rogers Brubaker describes as following:

„Nationalism can be understood as a form of remedial political action. It addresses an allegedly deficient or "pathological" condition and proposes to remedy it. The discourse that frames, and in part constitutes, nationalist political action - and the subdiscursive sentiments which nationalist political stances seek to mobilize and evoke - can be conceived as a set of variations on a single core lament: that the identity and interests of a putative nation are not properly expressed or realized in political institutions, practices, or policies.”

The works of Katarina Šević are concerned with the other forms of the national representation and clichés of identity. With extant documents and recollection snatches she makes attempts to generate new scenarios. In her story-boards different thoughts and symbols appear, queering the roles from generation to generation, or from nation to nation.

But the work-groups of Katarina Šević  and Csaba Nemes can also be understood by the terms of Svetlaya Boym, who distinguished the reflective and restorative nostalgia. In her opinion it is characteristic for the person’s own reflections, that nostalgia is defining the relation to itself, to his or her home, to the past, or to the image of the society created by his or her own vision.

She defines the two forms of the aforesaid nostalgia: the restorative nostalgia’s attitude characterizes the nationalist reforms and movements all over the world. These movements returns to the national and nationalistic symbols and myths with the total reconstruction of the past’s monuments, and the mother country’s emblems and rituals.

However the reflective nostalgia doesn’t pretend the restoration of the mythical field, but formulates the connection – seemingly full with abysses – between past, present, and future. And with this end in view, it emphasizes the desire and damage in the recollection’s unfinished process.

Therefore it doesn’t focus on the recovery of the truth, but the reflection on the progress of time and history. The restorative nostalgia gravitates to the collective visual symbols and oral traditions, evoking the national past and future, meanwhile the reflective nostalgia gravitates towards individual narrative, by personal and cultural memory as well.

With their references they overlap each other, but their narratives and identity-theories are not the same.  The Restorative nostalgia takes itself heavily serious, but the reflective nostalgia can be ironic and humorous, and it also makes visible that the desire and the critical thought are not reverse to each other. And the emotionally determined memories are not releasing us from the compassion, nor from the judgment, nor the critical reflection’s engagement.


Translated by: Gabriella Czibóka