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Art Watch : Agnes Herczeg

Agnes Herczeg is our Art Watch Artist for today. This section is brought to you by Art From Us and Divvya Nirula. The Artists we spotlight here can be from any field, across any discipline, and using a variety of media. We share here why we think they are important and worth watching. Be it genius creators of eras gone by. Or the upcoming contemporary artist who is yet to have their first show. All come under the purview of Art Watch.

The woven fabric that is attached to the piece of wood looks a piece of art that has floated out of the wood itself. Each of the pieces created by Agnes are like scenes of pastoral bliss. They soothe the mind and bring an immediate smile to the lips. The idyllic scenes of domestic chores and rural landscapes take shape through the needle and lace work. She uses blue, green, orange, and brown threads to form fruit trees and figures. These are attached to small twigs and branches. The narrative elements are balanced with decorative motifs to create each moment in time. What makes the artist’s compositional finesse more impressive, is the diminutive scale she has chosen for her works. Ranging between just a few inches tall, from 2.3 inches (6cm) to 7 inches (18cm) on her more vertically-oriented works.

We are looking at the incredible work of Hungarian artist Agnes Herczeg.  Agnes’s works with found wood and embroidery with only plant-based materials have made her famous. Born in Kecskemét, Herczeg graduated from the Hungarian University of Fine Arts and studied textile conservation. She uses traditional embroidery methods including needle lace, pillow lace, and macramé to produce some of her most quaint pieces.

Why Agnes Herczeg?

Critic Sara Barnes has describes Herczeg’s pieces as having a “striking visual juxtaposition [between] the looseness of the lace and the solidity of the wood.”

Her training in the variety of handicraft traditions helps Agnes combine various techniques to create wall sculptures that are fluid. She uses wood and ceramics to hold her ‘weaved creations’. She does not limit herself to one subject or style, moving between the abstract to the figurative. The medium remains this amalgam of natural fibres and media. These wall sculptures hinge towards ‘decorative’ art, but I find her technique worth applauding and following.

Herczeg also uses it as a striking visual juxtaposition. The looseness of the lace and the solidity of the wood is at odds. But they are harmonious when linked together. Herczeg creates scenes depicting the contemplative beauty of humanity. Each of the intricate scenes showcase women as they recline, sleep, and gaze into an infinite abyss. The wood is an anchor for their activities; it’s a place where the characters rest their bodies, or the floor on which they stand.

Speaking about her lace sculptures, Herczeg’s says “I have extensively studied the craft of embroidery and lace-making. Lace-making is an extremely time consuming occupation,” Herczeg describes. It takes several days just to complete a small piece.” Hers is a meticulous, detail-oriented endeavor.

Owing to tedium of the lace work, it’s important that Herczeg has a well-thought plan for how to execute the work. “Design is a significant part of the creative process,” she explains,“ because I have to think through not only the visual appearance of the work but its overall structure and the order of the individual steps.”

What does shine through is, despite the inflexibility of her process, Herczeg’s pieces reflect freedom and even spontaneity as the threads drape from the wood.


For more Artists handpicked by Divvya Nirula – explore the ART WATCH archive.

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