Ištvan Išt Huzjan / Subterranean Walks
Ištvan Išt Huzjan is one of the artists whose works are tirelessly shifting between different mediums of expression, constantly establishing a relation between material and ephemeral and thus interrogating the mechanisms and representational sphere of contemporary visual art. Besides that Huzjan attempts to recognise his personal space and relations within it, as point of departure to rethink the issues that he is currently dealing with. While Huzjan continuously draws parallels with avant-gardes and neo-avant-gardes, he also attempts to create ‘opposite poles’ to them. In the light of Lewitt’s reflections on conceptual art, Huzjan’s works are definitely intellectually stimulating, yet only really ‘appear’ when we recognise the artist's intimate stories, radically full of emotions. His projects rely on avoiding conventions and creating constant tensions between different entities, which makes his expression all the more unique and relevant.
Although many of his projects were directly linked to his horizontal journey (Revisiting the 1st m2, FROM HERE TO HERE, E6-YU, etc.), it is only his ‘vertical movement' within the journey that enables a comprehensive reading of a particular work. As a consequence Huzjan’s objects, gestures, words, etc, are directly linked to an intimate experience or the environment in which he is staying. That is why, above all, Huzjan’s projects can be seen as journeys, but in different times and spaces, and particularly the within relationships he establishes with people.
The project Subterranean Walks which the artist has developed for Gaep (EASTWARDS PROSPECTUS) can be seen as a continuation of artists engagements related to journeys but with addressing very specific and particular spatial situation. As the artist suggests in the exhibition interview, this particular intervention can be seen as a collage of the artist´s previous work. Especially in the sense that is directly addressing the element of separation which is inherent to the artist´s symbolical measuring of the “void” that arises during his travels, a void that is stretched between the artist´s departures and arrivals and represents a space for possible new creation. In this sense Huzjan´s intervention in the subterranean space of the gallery directly addresses it´s physical frame, but what is maybe even more important is how he symbolically "anchors" it. On a symbolical level the exhibition space can be seen as a subconscious part of the gallery structure and through that it can be directly related to the social function that the metro system has in relation to the city structures. On the one hand in the sense of something that is hidden from our eyes but mostly in the sense of recognizing it´s basic, simple and actually and only function – to move from point A to point B. And this particular element creates a strong conceptual curve back and towards Huzjan’s ceaseless measuring of the “void” that is created between his departures and arrivals during his journeys. In this particular case Huzjan´s “measuring” is conceptually evolved around his movements in the exhibition space, which directly coincides with movements of the Bucharest Metro. Even though Huzjan´s gesture can be on the first sight understood as symbolization of his ceaseless journey, it needs to be stressed that more important is how the artist directly, through his own poetics, reinterprets specific social structures and raises doubts in relation to the spectator and his established values and symbols.
Subterranean Walks once again demonstrate the urge of Huzjan’s artistic practice in which on formal level he carefully balances the relation between the material and immaterial, but most importantly, conceptually he creates a new space, a “void” that expands between his intimate stories and public structures that he is subtly addressing.