The Installations of Endre Koronczi
by Anica Rudolf
The wind blows where it wants to blow. It picks up the discarded trash, say a plastic bag. It carries it away, tugging at it, turning it toward the sun, then puts it down then lifts it again and hangs it on a tree branch. Endre Koronczi has been watching this lightly dancing, fluttering and floating, colored or transparent plastic glimmering for a long time, so long in fact that with time he realized that he was dealing with some special creatures. So he started to systematize them: there are the useless ones, for example, who have been trapped as a result of their unrestrained lifestyle (Captivaspiritus generalis), and now they are waiting for their never coming resurrection (recycling?) stuck and held up somewhere, and even if they are eventually released from their purgatory, they look pretty ruffled up. Others roam through vast fields at high speeds in an unbridled way, strong and healthy, and are unstoppable (Ventuspiritus ferus). One thing is common in them though: they are creatures with a soul, who obtain their pneuma from the wind.
Having presented his collections in exhibition settings over the past few years – imitating wind and light with propellers and light boxes (Kiscelli Templespace, 2013; Inda Gallery, 2014) – Koronczi recently established outdoor breeding colonies for further research, so as to domesticate the creatures he had observed in their natural environment as an ethnographer does, carefully documenting their behavior. In his artificially created outdoor breeders he arranges hundreds of the individuals found into an installation in an arbitrarily selected natural environment (during the OFF Biennale the venue was the People’s Island in Budapest). In fact, on recent occasions he specifically hunted for locations in which there are hardly any opportunities for mounting/suspending, so the “plastic bag sculpture” stands in the middle of a field or on the roadside as a self-supporting structure. Beyond the structural challenge, this is also a heroic struggle with the natural elements: you have to capture the wind and to do that you have to assess exactly which direction it is blowing from and what happens when the direction changes. You also have to know which direction the light comes from and how the body will remain stable, while eventually the piece also has to turn into a picture, a motion picture, in the given setting. It is also about being exposed to the forces of nature, or, with a bold association, about an exodus to the wilderness.
If we continue on this spiritual thread, the assumption immediately presents itself: are not the animated plastic bags moved by the wind 21st century manifestations of the Holy Spirit? Could what is a dove in medieval symbolism be a plastic bag in the centuries of globalization? Something that has (despite its superfluous, by-product – even parasitic – nature) a soul and lives and moves?
The phenomenon of plastic bags brought to life and flooding everything could shed light on other problems too, drawing our attention to the harmful effects of globalization on nature, but the question is definitely more complicated than that. In the Third World discarded thrash, the plastic bag on the side of a ditch, is the most important road sign, because it indicates that in 50-100 kms you will reach an inhabited area where there is food and accommodation. In certain circumstances trash transubstantiates (hence the saying that environmental conservation is a problem for rich countries).
But back to the wind and the plastic bags transubstantiated by it: the plastic is the material and the wind is the form, so the parallel with the human body as material and the soul giving it form is inevitable. By the way, in the Holy Scripture the wind often symbolizes futility, impermanence, worthlessness: fruitless speech (Job 6:26), our fragile existence (7:7) and the fact that everything that human knowledge creates is impermanent and eventually comes to an end. Man only runs after the wind, sows wind, “casts wind” and reaps wind. This is another interpretation of the parallel between “plastic bag existence” and human existence on Earth. The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”(John 3:8)
Endre Koronczi has recently set up a new Ploubuter Park colony at Kopaszti Dam within the framework of the Dunapest Festival.