I'll somewhere note your salute
but it won't be me
who will come then, it’s only my
….. as you also resemble - mon
semblable, mon frère -
the one who has just read this short
poem you see herein.
István Orosz quotes Baudelaire in the verse he has selected as his motto: mon semblable, — mon frère: my likeness, my melancholy brother – the words borrowed from the prologue to his Les Fleurs du mal address the reader encountering them. The formula is complicated to some degree by the fact that both the writer and the reader only remind of themselves, and of each other, in the sense of the exact likenesses of borrowed words, if you like, reflections. In the works of Orosz – and now I am thinking of his artistic works as well – the role of the mirror is not surprising in the least, which he intends for the viewer and for himself. He has formulated more than once that he sees the individual standing on both sides of the artwork – the artist and the viewer – in identical attire, envisioning both of them as carrying the same weight on the court opposite to the artwork envisioned on balancing scales. He readily quotes the caption above the mirror of the Arnolfinis: Johannes de Eyck fuit hic, whose text, read together with the object, he translates thus: Jan van Eyck was the mirror here; and he readily tries his hand at the revival of such long forgotten media as, for instance, mirror anamorphoses, which attain their effects with doubling. To take a place at the table with his often paraphrased mentors, Niceron, Arcimboldo, Magritte and Escher, with a postmodern gesture, Orosz doubles even himself: from time to time, he signs his works as Outis, the pseudonym borrowed from Cyclops. The most artful Greek, Odysseus, also used as a pseudonym the word meaning No-man, and as we know, with that exchange of names, then Polyphemos the Cyclops’ eye came into the world. The gouging out of the eye, or deception to the eye, also accompanied the works of Orosz/Outis, if only metaphorically. Trompe l’oeil – we refer with an elegant art historical expression to those images in which illusion guides the gaze. Orosz often uses such artifice, though he is completely aware of the danger of these deceptive procedures. He put it this way at a symposium a few years back: I hope my intentions are clear, in the ambitions of a Hungarian artist at the end of the 20th century, who does not tell the truth only to be caught in the act. Sincerity and hypocrisy simultaneously – the line of Baudelaire quoted in the prologue commences thus: hypocrite lecteur – hypocritical reader. And hypocritical viewer – we might add, since the world that Orosz presents functions according to autonomous rules – laws whose meaning are perpetually questioned by convention, and undoubtedly must be learned.
(Text: Guy D'Obonner)