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Attila Csörgő

Archimedean Point

The work of Attila Csörgő explores the adjoining territories of art and science. He makes experiments with carefully engineered and meticulously adjusted devices of his own design. His works attest to a mindset that is playful and humorous, as well as philosophical.

“Hard” scientific research clearly has its moments of ecstasy. When a scientist conceptualises the solution to a problem, the demonstration of a theory or the confirmation of a hypothesis, the pleasure can be comparable to that of a musician overcome by sublime harmonies or an artist investigating unexplored forms.

What is more, there have been major scientific discoveries made with the aid of systems that are rather rudimentary, but which nevertheless reveal and demonstrate complex or abstract ideas, or ideas that appear elusive, without needing to resort to sophisticated procedures. The apparatus dreamt up by Hippolyte Fizeau, for example, consisted of nothing more than a light source, a toothed wheel and a revolving mirror; simple equipment with which he was able in 1849 to determine the speed of light with surprising precision. Similarly Michael Faraday carried out fundamental experiments on electromagnetism using equipment that any handyman grandfather would have little trouble in constructing.

© Photo : Attila Csörgő

The work of Attila Csörgő leads us into a universe of scientific exploration that is passionate while also expressing the joy, humor, and detachment proper to artistic creation. He often immerses himself for months into intricate problems of mathematics, physics or projective geometry, creating works that demonstrate possible solutions to these problems. At other times, he constructs special cameras to capture reality on pictures never seen before. He is engaged in optical illusions generated by the interaction of light and movement - surprising and unexpected physical phenomena that shatter the viewer's belief in apparently obvious physical laws.

Through simulacra of objects or forms - the virtual products of his unusual devices - he offers a look into an underlying reality that normally goes unnoticed, hidden to the routine ways of our everyday perception.

The realm of mathematics and geometry, together with the phenomena of everyday physics, offers a depository of subjects and ideas for Csörgő. His scientific approach provides an effective means essential for him to keep an open mind on reality without a hint of subjectivity. In their outward appearance, Csörgő's mechanical constructions, his mobile structures that create illusions of physical phenomena defying everyday experience, do not convey an esthetic quality. He does not attempt to estheticize his mechanical constructions. The technical element of his works is consciously and deliberately incidental.

Attila Csörgő stages complex relations between Platonic solids in a kind of puppet theatre: the transformation of a cube, a tetrahedron, an octahedron or a dodecahedron, all made up of little wooden stems held together by a system of fine cords and pulleys using a disconcertingly simple mechanism, fascinates all audiences, great and small.

© Courtesy of the artist and Galerija Gregor Podnar, Berlin –Ljubljana Attila Csörgő

He also designs photographic equipment that rotates through both vertical and horizontal axes, which allows him to capture a panoramic landscape on a Moebius strip and to let it travel to infinity without resolving the continuity between interior and exterior. Another fixed appliance starts from a central point, and gives a 360° image of a room in all directions: one could observe the interior of this room on a spherical photograph, but from the outside!

Empirical folding of great mathematical complexity, hypnotic plays of light resting on indecipherable mechanical movements, and other inventions that combine fantasy with curiosity about extremely varied physical and mathematical phenomena - all bear the stamp of Attila Csörgő, the great do-it-yourselfer who introduces - always with a smile - science into the world of art. Or the other way round.

Three institutions - Ludwig Múzeum Budapest, Hamburger Kunsthalle and Mudam Luxembourg - are partners in realizing the first large-scale retrospective exhibition of this outstanding artist.


  • Kati Simon(Ludwig Múzeum Budapest)