Hungarian artist Zsofia Schweger moved away from her home town of Sandorfalva ten years ago, but frequently returns to visit her family house, which has been left frozen in time. All the furniture is still in situ, waiting to be removed, leaving the interior preserved as Zsofia remembers it. For her series of paintings named after the town, she has examined this odd situation and the feelings it provokes.
“I’ve become interested in this idea of frozenness, silence, and abandon; about a feeling of alienation and discomfort while looking at something that I otherwise have very fond memories of,” she says.
The paintings are expressive in their eerie stillness, like cartoon backdrops waiting for the characters to arrive and animate them. Zsofia makes small drawing studies on site in Sandorfalva, then brings these back to her London studio to develop. For the final pieces, she applies inviting colour combinations that make you want to spend more time with them, she says, but also uses one-point perspective, which “serves to lock you out”. A flat wall or piece of furniture stops the eye and limits the depth of the composition. This, Zsofia says, conveys how she feels about her childhood home now. It is her home by definition, but she feels removed from it, “I’m supposed to belong, but I don’t.”
She also plans the exact composition and colours in advance, which allows her to keep the paintings single-layered and completely flat, with the white of the canvas showing through blocks of colour. “I think this gives away a sense of anxiety and alienation,” she explains.
The 27-year-old artist currently has her first solo show Bloc, curated by Becca Pelly-Fry, at Griffin Gallery, London, where she is completing a six-month residency. She has also been selected as one of the Bloomberg New Contemporaries. The show is on until 30 September.