Sári Ember at Ani Molnár Gallery / Budapest, Hungary


Sári Ember
curated by Flóra Gadó


Ani Molnár Gallery, 
Bródy Sándor u. 22, 1088
Budapest, Hungary

Sári Ember’s latest works are close follow-ups on her previous exhibitions, meanwhile from a different, fictive point of view she rediscovers her outlook on the topics of family heritage, procession of the course of the past and people’s relation to objects. During the exhibition the space of Ani Molnár Gallery becomes an imaginary family’s unusual living room. The space evokes other associations as well: with its golden curtain which is not covering anything, it resembles a theater with props, but it also looks like a museum and its storage space with the cabinet like shelves. Sári Ember also reflects critically on these spaces and examines how they create different contexts to their objects, which can be admiration, presentation and usage at the same time. The objects appearing in the site-specific installation are simultaneously bear functions and act as mere decorations; their shapes are familiar, yet their colours and design remain unusual, even ironic. Their materiality is ambiguous too: the ceramics are fragile and intimate, and they look like family souvenirs, but the masks which are made from marble, granit and lime-stone are unwearable and irregular – they have one nose or more eyes – and also evoke the difficulty in shifting between those roles, which we take on us everyday.

In the exhibition space we do not see non self-reflective items, but the stories of an invisible pattern coming to life through a family’s objects. These masks, ceramics and other objects are related to one another in a peculiar manner; by becoming anthropomorphic they are arranged in series and constellations, meanwhile being seen sometimes on the photographs as well, as objects which belong to someone. It’s not only the arrangement of the photos which are unusual – they appear not only on the wall but on the shelves as well – but their compositions are also enigmatically refer to the notions of seeing/invisibility, gaze/face and wholeness/fragmentation. It seems as if we are looking at a family album, but we realize, that it is already a construction, the participants are playing either themselves or other peoples different roles. The dominancy of the masks is visible throughout the exhibition and it examines the question of portraiture in a new light. Through the gestures of hiding someone’s face, many facedness and the blindness of the masks itself, the fictional, theater like situation becomes stronger.

Thanks to the layout of the gallery space it can feel like home and like a museum set in the very same time, the elements of which, on the opening day of the exhibition, will leave the bounds of the closed space and come out in the gallery’s garden too. The house’s garden which is covered with ivy, transforms into a strange sculpture park, where the busts and vases are assisting to an invisible scenario. 

*photo: Sári Ember, courtesy of the artist and Ani Molnár Gallery