Emese Benczúr

1969 | Budapest, Hungary

Hungarian visual artist.

Emese Benczúr studied painting at the Academy of Fine Arts in Budapest from 1990 to 1996. From the beginning of her career, this conceptual artist has included texts in her work. In 1994 she “sewed” her first iconic work of that decade, an embroidered sentence repeated over and over: “Oh how I envy those who have so much leisure…”. In these works, she reinterprets traditional feminine roles, ironically paraphrasing typical women’s work. Through their status and process (embroider as a hobby), her texts question the sense of all human action and thus the teleology of art. The artist confronts spectators with the absurdity of existence, as well as her own. For the second Manifesta biennial (Luxembourg 1998) she began a long-term work on the theme of passing time, Should I Live to Be a Hundred: inscribed on prefabricated ribbons the words “day by day” as many times as there are days until she is 100 years old and every day on these same labels she embroidered I think about the future…

Beginning in 2000, she realised videos (Tranquillité) and created texts and created texts using a variety of processes – Christmas tree lights, pins, aluminium foil – each time establishing a close link between material, visualisation and manufacturing process; the content was produced by the referentiality of each factor. During the group exhibition Out of Time (2001), the central part of her work was a rotating neon advertisement which, in comparison with her earlier works, referred tautologically to the text she carried on her: “Take your time so that time can turn on its own.” As a counterpoint to the installation as a means to highlight the message, couches were installed against the wall, inviting the public to lay down.

Erzsébet Tati

Translated from French by Katia Porro.

From the Dictionnaire universel des créatrices
© 2013 Des femmes – Antoinette Fouque
© Archives of Women Artists, Research and Exhibitions
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