Women's stories — From drawing to animation

"Women’s Stories from Drawing to Animation" brings together the works of four contemporary artists in an exhibition at INDA Gallery, at the heart of the most popular area for visitors to stroll in Budapest.

In combining the presentation of drawings and animations, Dr. Andrea Bordács’s curation exposes the thought process and reflection of each artist as they produce their animations; the stand alone drawings can also be viewed as thinking tools for the animations. The women in the exhibition bring unique voices and perspectives, their themes exploring and expanding the female gaze. One readily notes the issue of identity and a prismatic approach to self, often associated with women artists, because we are consistently challenged by the ongoing social constraints within a male dominated world and are presenting and re-presenting ourselves in various formats and contexts to push outward from the claustrophobic bubble in which we are encased. In an environment where abstraction and formalist iconic geometry holds the most ground, these works appear in Budapest as hopeful stories, relatable, tangible, embraced in fantasy, folktale, and myth, through which we encounter possibilities, new realities and the vaporous neverland of female dreams of connection, truth, and freedom from oppression; we witness and join in with this voice, emerging from silence.


Éva Magyarósi, 2018 Tundra 2D animation 5’ 40” photo credit Anne Murray


In correspondence with Ágnes von Uray (Ágnes Uray-Szépfalvi), she explained the background to her drawings and animations, “There are two main themes of my work in the exhibition. There are the moving portraits, where faces can be seen turning towards the viewer and looking [directly] into their eyes. I find it fascinating how the figure turns with attention towards us. The technique of the animation is charcoal drawing wiped and redrawn in every sequence. The other work in a separate room [includes] a children's song from Béla Bartók. It is sung by a girl who is playing with a rope. The technique is the same as the portraits. The meaning of the song is playful. To emphasize the atmosphere of the music, the girl is dancing and singing while enjoying herself in the open landscape of Balaton.” This work is presented as a large projection with a girl at the center of the moving drawing, playing with a rope. It is captivating to listen to the song and see the girl at play. I enjoy watching this kind of animation as it is as if the drawing process is sped up and also slowed down, as if a frame by frame notion of our lives in 2D.


Ágnes Uray-Szépfalvi CloudyIV. 2019 coal on paper 29,5x42 cm Installation view with animation| | Ágnes Uray-Szépfalvi Cloudy 2019 animation "01:55" loop Edition 3 db széria photo credit Anne Murray 


In progressing through the exhibition, I become mesmerized by the work of Éva Magyarósi. Her animation Tundra, is an incredible cycle of birth, growth, death, and reincarnation, a sequence of contemporary mythologies illustrating and innovating, while appreciating the history that has come before her. One can’t separate art from the canon that is incised in our brains during art history classes as artists, and here I recognize a ‘tip of the hat’ to Hieronymus Bosch’s The Garden of Earthly Delights, but the work is by no means derivative, but rather it is Magyarósi’s female stamp or icon branding, her characters emerge one from inside the other, crawling out and up, opening the sky as if the world we know is but an underworld to that which we might one day rise to gaze upon. It is the contemporary altarpiece of female experience, a combination of responsibilities and shapeshifting, battles and problem-solving. A devilish female form is born and climbs up through a hole cut in the sky, spirit animals appear and dissolve, proportions of each element and figure demonstrate posturing and power, positioning of the female self in different quadrants of experience and acceptance. It is the kind of work one wants to return to again and again, noticing more details and elements in the drawings presented around it and in the evolving mythology both moving and morphing. I feel a profound sense of the female experience in her work, of the necessity of adaptation and resilience. “My work follows my own life. My narratives start with real, personal events combined with fictitious, abstract insertions. These create micro-events that feed into the later stages of the creative process,” explains Magyarósi in an email.  She emphasizes the process of evaluation in her productions, “I reinterpret and re-examine my solutions, how relevant they are in a new context, how timeless, and how their meaning may have changed. From such an approach, it is always interesting to look at whether I discover new ideas in my own work as well, or whether I would change anything in them.”


Éva Magyarósi, 2018 Tundra 2D animation 5’ 40” photo credit Anne Murray


The exhibition also includes the work of Eszter Szabó, who is more recently recognized for winning the Leopold Bloom Award. Her work included is a fanciful look at the burdens of women in society, carrying larger than life male genitalia as if loaded up with harvested materials in the countryside, bringing an array of likely and unlikely interpretations and a giggle when the moment of epiphany appears and one realizes what is the ‘package’ being carried by the old woman. A host of euphemisms present themselves.


Eszter Szabó, Abandoning the Testicles 2017 HD video, 1'19'' Edition 1/5 + AP photo credit Anne Murray


Finally, the work of Judit Wunder elegantly presents life alone; with a lovely graphic line quality and composition, her figures are rounded in a way that reminds me of Fernando Botero’s sculptures, installed on Park Avenue in New York City, many years ago. Her female form is more sensitive, feeling, and the emotion filters through from the black and white animated sequence in a distinctly female presentation as opposed to the male gaze in Botero’s work.


Judit Wunder, Bond 2016 2D animation, 09:42 photo credit, Anne Murray



This show is a unique presentation of women’s work in the arts today, with a gentle and powerful stance, asserting the place of women in the art world, while also casting a positive light on our burdens and tribulations. Congratulations to the curator on presenting such a wonderful combination of works, which interact in a delightful and thought provoking way.


Installation view, courtesy of INDA Gallery


Installation view, courtesy of INDA Gallery




13 October 2021 – 26 November 2021 curated by Dr. Andrea Bordács



Cover image: Ágnes Uray-Szépfalvi, Poco Allegretto 2016 animation "1:06" Edition 5 + 1 db széria; A +1 db a Ludwig Múzeum Gyűjteményében photo credit Anne Murray



Anne Murray