In the early days of September, we were invited to an extraordinary art event on the picturesque slopes of the Balaton Uplands in Káptalantóti. The one-evening exhibition, entitled “Szabadon nő” (Freewoman / Growing free—free transl.) of Anna Pakosz, engaged all the senses of the participants: the setting, the lights, the colors, the smells, the sounds, the scents, and the tastes all helped us to experience painting in a different way than we are used to it in the sterile environment of the galleries.
We had photographer Matti Varga accompany us to the event to make sure that we could recreate the atmosphere we witnessed as sensually as possible.
Anna Pakosz originally graduated as an economist, then worked as an assistant curator and studied movement art in Tel Aviv. During her years spent there, she began to paint, and her figurative paintings with their characterful aesthetic quickly became a hit. Anna “portrays her characters in simple, everyday situations which we all experience, but do not necessarily live them in their fullness,” reads the curatorial text of Szabadon Nő.
Her debut solo exhibition’s program riddled with audiovisual elements, art collaborations, and immersive experiences is the perfect embodiment of Anna’s complex professional background. Going beyond the exhibition of paintings, the artist wanted to offer an insight into what inspires her creative process while while engaging and inviting attendees into the present. She could not have found a better home for all this than the Hi·Hekaté meditation center.
“In the fall of 2020, I wanted to get away for a few days, and my friends recommended Hi-Hekate in Káptalantóti. On my first visit, I was struck by the pure beauty and intimacy of the place. I knew I wanted to do something with the inspiration I felt here. When I was looking for a venue for my exhibition here at home, I knew almost immediately that this was it. Then I tailored the concept to the space, taking advantage of the buildings’ location on the estate,” Anna shared.
Anna also explained to us the thought behind the name choice of the exhibition: “For me, femininity is currently about beauty, softness, and recklessness. I work a lot with these in my art. My experience of freedom is constantly changing; it always means something different as I mature. The most important thing is not to lock myself into imagined schemes that limit me. It’s an ongoing endeavor, but if one succeeds, one might grow free.” The emphasis on the female perspective was also reflected in collaborations with poets Eszter Kállay and Mónika Ferencz, performer Rozina Pátkai, cinematographer Lola Bedécs, dancer Réka Horváth, and flutist Csenge Hrotkó.
At the beginning of the event, which was carefully planned in every detail, we were given bracelets. Everyone got a different color than the person they arrived with. The three different colors then determined the teams with whom you could tour the three unique locations during the evening: a woodland cabin, a meditation house, and a sauna overlooking the remnant hills. Part of the purpose of group splitting was to ensure that you didn’t know the others, to achieve, as Anna put it, a sacred silence. The colored threads not only appeared on the wrists but also ran throughout the estate to guide us to each site, like Ariadne’s thread.
The paintings installed in the three locations were always accompanied by a unique experience that made the artworks more intimate and tangible. The atmosphere of the images exhibited in the lodge was completed by improvisational dance and music performances; in the meditation space, media artworks gave context to the paintings, and contemporary poetry spiced up the picture-gazing in the sauna. The evening was closed with a shared meditative retreat, a dinner served by SOLID by SALT, and a bonfire.
“It’s amazing that so many people have stood behind the project and worked with all their might to make sure everything went according to plan. Thirteen artists and helpers volunteered behind the scenes on site. It’s a great feeling that so many people have made the long journey because they were curious to see what would happen. I think we managed to give the participants an experience that was honest and inspiring. That evening, I was in a euphoric state, seeing the fruits of the past months’ work. This event strengthened me to dare to dream because that’s how it all starts,” Anna summed up the exhibition, which is truly an inspiring example of thinking beyond the usual frameworks of art and art intermediation.
Photos: Varga Matti
Pakosz Anna | Instagram