A Conversation with András Cséfalvay, Artist from Slovakia

by My Art Guides Editorial Team
June 22, 2016
My Art Guides Editorial Team
Cséfalvay András

“The mission of the artist is to lend his voice to those entities who are without a voice or are silenced: human minorities, cultures, animals, or silence.”

Nina Gažovičová: You work in different media and you are the only winner of the prestigious Oskár Čepan Award (and will perhaps remain so for a long time) and of the Painting of the Year competition. But what is really crucial for an emerging artist from the Eastern Europe wishing to break through into the international scene?

András Cséfalvay: It is more the international art scene that is breaking through, and reaching out. There is no real answer as to what to do, but yes, there are some patterns. The basics are an honest message and a good way of communicating it. The urgency of the message or the urgency of the medium are probably the variables that make up the value of artworks. A constant bending of established rules makes communication between the “sender” and the “receiver” rather problematic. The artist should love his audience.

NG: At the beginning of your artistic career, you used to combine textual and musical tracks. One of the results was actually an opera. Why and how did you come to this fusion?

 AC: I was searching for total art, something inescapable, but one learns that transformation can be achieved in non-totalising ways too. I still have a reverence for form, and I am still interested in the marriage of visual and aural sensations, but mostly I have a deep fascination with the human voice, with song.

NG: You often reflect on the role and mission of an artist in society. How do you see his current position?

AC: I recently finished my thesis for which I explored words, and for the moment I have come to this: in the current age, there is a dominant world interpretation, which is mostly Western, and especially centred on the human mind. The mission of the artist is to lend his voice to those entities who are without a voice or are silenced: human minorities, cultures, animals, or silence.

NG: Bratislava was historically a trilingual city. How do you perceive its local position within the global world today?

AC: Bratislava is an unimportant city in the world, and my favourite place. It used to be trilingual but this has hardly been encouraged over the last hundred years, which is a pity, really. I believe multilingualism is one of the keys to understanding a practical knowledge of the brain and how languages work. How the world is translated in various ways by the brain. Ultimately, too, it helps to overcome nationalisms and other unfruitful tribal mindsets. However, there might be something unexpected over the horizon. If Elon Musk connects Bratislava, Vienna, and Budapest with the Hyperloop train, the new megalopolis will perhaps harness its trilingual potential.

NG: What are your favourite places in Bratislava related to art?

AC: I like almost everything: a4 – Zero Space have on their programme, including theatre, concerts, and festivals of contemporary music. I also did a few performance evenings with them. And on the next corner there is The Gallery, a place of transit, which usually has interesting and complex exhibitions.

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