An attempt at universal nature painting

The material published in this book has been selected by painter Luca Korodi from among her paintings shown at three successive exhibitions as well as from a recent cycle still underway. The titles of the exhibitions are eloquent and concise: Resonance (Fuga, 2016); REM Phase (Három Holló, 2017); Gnawing to Break Free of Pupal Skin (Fészek Galéria, 2018), and The Earth’s Skin (2019). The canvas displays ordinary sights, such as red and yellow tartan with white tears in the background; colourful, abstract images revealing that the apparently random tears are actually irregular peep-holes, allowing for landscape details to unfold. We can see a fossil glowing by itself in the darkness of an archaeological abyss or floating in a misty image as part of the sky. Earth-wide cartographic shapes, ‘marble drapes,’ layers with the impression of being nets of space and time. The painting reproductions include several environmental paintings to underpin, in a way, that they belong together. In addition to their status as individual paintings, they are also part of an installation inhabiting, on the one hand, the current space where they are present and our attention on the other. For example, a ready-made rolling shutter (a camera obscura to photograph the world) sprays stripes of light onto the painting behind it, thereby altering everything: the shutter is altered due to the colours and shapes appearing between its blades, and the painting is altered by the stripes of light and shadow cast by the shutter. We see a complex universe of painting-environment-installation born out of the interaction of environmental objects and cosmic signs, which can be disassembled and reassembled by means of interpretation. By extending the macro- and microspheres almost to their endpoints, the scope of the works of art is enlarged and their competence is extended. An almost universal ‘landscape’ is unfolding before our eyes, extending, on the one hand, deeply back into time (following the succession chain of fossils–hydrocarbon–energy–velocity–light), while on the other ascending into the cosmic space engulfing the Earth in its entirety to finally come to a standstill at the frontiers of our present-day knowledge, at individual signs of our capabilities of abstraction, such as the icosahedron of the Dymaxion map (following the succession chain of nature observation–mathematics–astronomy–universe theories). Metaphorically speaking, the paintings – drawn together and embedded into an installation – depict ‘landscapes’ that seem to reflect mankind’s spatial and temporal abstractions, including spiritual signs, procedures, ethical and moral consequences. However, if one views the works of the four cycles as a coherent whole, one can also regard them to be the single pages of a journal of nature research, in which elements of the raw physical world are layered with the intellectual facts of interpretation. JÁNOS KURDY FEHÉR THROUGH! An attempt at universal nature painting 10 11 The subject matters of the works unfold when we start interpreting them as research. On the one hand, they describe the specific material microsphere and the factual universal natural macrosphere. On the other hand, they show us that these two worlds have been created by us. Thirdly, they unveil a ‘gateway’ through which we can experience how the universal natural world is produced by actively engaging our imagination and ‘breaking up’ the concrete environment and transforming it into a cognitive tool. They show us the way in which we can get tuned to the resonance of the macrosphere from the perspective of the microsphere, while tangible objects become dreamlike as we transmute ourselves from the concrete visible world into the invisible one looming in the distance, and back again. According to his research object, this painting can be regarded as the ‘universal nature painting’ of the things that one can recognize in the painting. We move through the argument step by step, proving that one can enjoy moving through worlds by shifting perspective, provided that we manage to become absorbed in them by focusing on their nature of being intertwined with one another. In addition, with visual focus, we view this world while engaging in the pleasures of our concentrated presence, which in some respects is the most one can hope to achieve. In order to stay accurate and to get where Korodi has gone, we rely on the pictorial power of words and venture into the ‘spiritual places’ where the paintings are born. This is the place where we use autopoietic abilities to produce the images of universal nature. With a little restraint, this is the place of universal human imagination for creating the world. However, one has to make small shifts to get across this layered storage space of universal magnitude. While getting across is our goal if we want to achieve recognition; for the sake of cognition and according to our real needs, our goal is to get immersed, settle down, find our home in it. Fortunately, the two do not rule out each other, since passing through this painting is a mirror reflection of immersion. Korodi paints multiple layers of meaning simultaneously. She also adjusts her tools accordingly, which are also diverse and layered. She has a predilection for observing nature. By, for example, capturing tiny microspheres: the shadow of the light sifting through the leaves onto the glass of the window (getting mediated) onto the wall of the studio, which is recorded on video. He then places some of the images in the video, and at the same time, the ‘impression’ of motion picture, onto her two-dimensional canvases. The overall impression is a kind of installation of our knowledge about light. The layers of the canvas encrypt metaphorical information and procedures getting denoted in the viewer’s brain. They open up as an inner world, where it becomes apparent that whatever we see outside is constantly being adapted to the existing inner world. New knowledge gets subsided on top of it, merging with the old. The one pierces the other, and we look at the sight of the swirling outlines of an emerging world as it is getting created from the haze. The paintings are, on the one hand, logical consequences of each other, and, on the other, mirror images. And there are always new and different paintings, which not only add to the series of changes, but get stabilized and subsided. The external paintings overlap with the internal ones and vice versa, following the rhythm of our mental-neurochemical processes of perception. Interpretation connects us to the world, in which the phenomenon and the information about it are inseparable. We inhabit the world through our programs of creation. We see the world and ourselves as objects, with the desire for unity, and the ‘two-in-one question’ arises: “What does it mean substantially for a universal mind to have a body?” What is more important: the material presumed to be concrete or the intellectual information it is carrying? It is dizzyingly exciting when one of our contemporaries creates paintings that also show how our era perceives itself and how it perceives the world through itself; how it produces the paintings it can inhabit. Meanwhile, there is a promising area where the real world is ‘lapsing’ into another one that we wish to know and settle into, so as to make it habitable. We need to produce this intellectually, from the inside, and at the same time, we need to be able to do the real-time functional process of perceiving the world. This kind of painting explores this process. Through her experiments of interweaving the two worlds, Korodi created a nature painting of universal relevance. Her painting is the ‘cultivation of insight,’ which once again offers the viewer an insight to obtain cognition through the painting and offers a new light on our basic nature leading to the production of paintings. See through, think through, transform, transcribe! This practice is impacted and governed by several ‘throughs’ and ‘transes.’ The painter is looking for a gateway in this world to get through. And she is doing so where she can lead the viewer over to the other side of the world. Where direct material reality is no longer a hindrance, but an indicator to the way in which we should think through the world. While getting through, the viewer becomes a ‘spacecraft’ by him or herself (to venture far into space) or, one might say, an ‘escorting angel’ (to guarantee arrival). For the place where these paintings lead to is a world-creating site. This is the place where the visible, perceptible world is being ‘thought through.’ Where the process of assembling takes place. This place has already been called ‘world spirit,’ ‘sophia,’ ‘fourth dimension, or ‘fifth element.’ But it can also be called a quantum event. Obviously, we have seen this place every time as something different and new because nature and ourselves have been constantly reinterpreted in history by our universal imagery. We do not have to get scared of the changeable, continuously researching spirit of this place; nor of its unchanging quality of being ever-changing; nor of its claim of cosmic scale. Here, a specific – constructive and necessary – element is created: a new tool, a new philosophy, a new worldview that leads from the following A to the ensuing B. All this serves the purpose of refreshing and preserving, by our paintings, the fading facts of the world. This place is now the operational space of the quantum phenomenon, where information is being produced from matter. This is the place of former angels (J. Böhme), myths (M. Eliade), archetypes (C. G. Jung), and then memes (R. Dawkins). This place is characterized by the continuous production of human imagination. While this painting passes through light, lines, shapes, colours, concepts, medial worlds over and over again, it still preserves its distinguished place. It creates installations to ancient processes 12 13 and their power over and over, which have already been at the centre of our worldview, though in a volatile form. It has been called, occasionally and mysteriously, a “no-where-land;” for geographic and astronomical and material coordinates do not apply here since we are leaving the physical boundaries behind to reveal the spiritual coordinates by which we imagine the world. This is the place of human universal nature. Despite having more than one layers, it is very concrete and unambiguous: it means an active, creative imagination that is fundamentally different from daydreaming, fiction, or the unreal. With the words of cultural anthropologist Henry Corbin, this is ‘mundus imaginalis.’ The place for the creation of the imaginal, not for the imaginary. Here, the pictorial is the opposite of the imaginary. The things we get to know in the painting are concrete, like the autopoietic nature of man, by which he installs himself into nature. Luca Korodi has been personally inhabiting this universal place by her paintings. She found her home in it, and then she personalized it. It is the place of her painting, her “place of paintings”, the place of “the things known from the paintings.” It took quite a bit of courage to get there, to take that route. “I'm the medium myself, feeding from the cloud,” she says. It took perseverance and patience to experiment and await the results of her diverse techniques for the observation and representation of nature. She had to go through lot to get here, and to do so while still maintaining the tools for the two-dimensional representation of the world to grasp and use. For example, she painted herself all the way through figurativity, while her canvases still show the overshadowed traces of figurative painting. She stepped over the whole spectrum of colours, preserving them as an escort to the light deconstructed into black-and-white shadows. She displays materiality to be transparent, while preserving material-like display on the canvas. She succeeded in punching a hole on our human limitations and finding a gateway where the world of everyday experience abruptly entered the visual world and the visual was inevitably limited to perception by ‘grabbing’ objects. This way, she has given us a chance to regain our mental condition so that we do not regard the world of ideas merely as an incomplete and abstract concept, nor do we allow it to be lost as a secondary feature of the world inhabited by visible bodies. We are thrilled by the quantity and quality of her painting work while boldly falling into a refreshing enthrallment by her art, which allows us to look at the world and ourselves again in a different, novel and exploratory way.    JÁNOS KURDY FEHÉR