Eszter Katalin creates video works and installations. Her practice is concerned with looking at subjects tied to political antagonism and social struggle from a queer and feminist perspective and questioning their relationship to the visual.
She is interested in how social issues and identities emerge within representation, and how mechanisms of exclusion, labelling and education are actualised through the scope of vision. This gives her a starting point for developing different types of narrations, particularly stories, that touch upon the social position of women in specific historical contexts.
In her piece Mary in Red (2018), she paid a visit to a prison in Márianosztra, Hungary where, upon the order of the state, the inmates of today produce barbed wire for Europe’s borders. In the past, this very prison was where the Hungarian authorities locked up women communists and anti-fascist fighters and tried to re-educate them through labour and prayer. The artist explores the archives by following the voice of a prisoner, who is a fictional character based on the lives of Gizella Berzevicy, Magda Szimin and other women and reinterprets their stories with gestures of remembrance. Questioning the potentiality of gesture and non-verbal communication also makes a prominent appearance in her most recent work I Hold You and You Hold Me being featured at Likovni salon. The film was initially conceived as a dialogue between two women, raising questions on care within a lesbian relationship. Through the process of exploration, however, it transformed itself into an examination of the possibility of enacting the term, which is primarily associated with something positive. The notion of care is defined in the video through a different eye view, as a subtle form of action by authority, which is manifested in the most intimate relationships. Care is distinctly relational; it is a form of connection with another. Through a choreography of the bodies of the three protagonists – Alazne Lastra, Camila Téllez and herself – in the film, the artist attempts to articulate the question of how the image can produce a multifaceted notion of care, how this fits into the moving image, and its relation towards the viewer. The relationship that is formed through care may not always be an expression of closeness as forms of subordination and dependency may also be manifested through the care of another. In the film, the artist points to the various layers of care through the production of the work itself. She shows the filming process as the performers take turns in front and behind the camera, directing, instructing and controlling each other. They perform various exercises to test out how to be together. The installation at Likovni salon accompanies the viewer through individual affective atmospheres. The scenes of intimate situations, where we observe a restrained getting close, testing out, surrendering and accepting of another are intertwined with expressions of doubt, ambiguity, fear and oversaturation, as well as the desire to manage and control the situation.
Eszter Katalin (Budapest, 1991) lives and works in Vienna and Bilbao. She completed her postgraduate studies in Critical Studies at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna. Her work has been featured at festivals such as the Diagonale – Festival des österreichischen Films in Graz, the 17th Filmmor International Women’s Film Festival on Wheels in Istanbul as well as others. In 2019, she was a resident at the Tabakalera Centre for Contemporary Art in San Sebastian. She is currently a resident at the BilbaoArte Foundation in Spain.