Ilona Németh


gandy gallery

Exhibition: September 23 - November 28, 2015


The Gandy Gallery is pleased to announce the first solo exhibition by Ilona Németh at the gallery in Bratislava. 

The works featured in the exhibition of Ilona Németh in Gandy gallery will focus on the transformation of factory-produced furniture into cult objects or religious furnishing. By doing so, she draws attention to the manipulative methods of the Catholic Church, as well as of the market mechanism. Along with her older pieces, she will show some new one titled "Metod" specially produced for the gallery space, and which will extend the series of religious-commercial objects.

"The object of PAX/NEXUS/SALVUS from 2005 is followed by the MALM-IN prayer stools in 2008, where I again use the design of the Swedish multinational company. Here the last impulse were the moneyboxes I saw on prayer stools in Rome, Italy. For me this also represent, in an absurd way, the marketing and selling of immaterial spiritual contents. My whole series also includes two reliquiaries and flyers paraphrasing the PR materials used to market furniture."

"I created the PAX/NEXUS/SALVUS - confessional/wardrobe combination back in 2005, after years of preparation. I was intrigued by the possibility of a connection between a piece of furniture and our spiritual/religious processes. For me, the object is an embodiment and a representation of this, and is the end production of a long process of conceptualization. The last impulse in the creation of the project was IKEA's Pax wardrobe combination series, which were marketed as the "wardrobe for all purposes". This was the moment where I realized that through combining the topics of mass production and consumerism with religion and church I can create the content that got me interested in the confessional as an object in the first place"

"At the exhibition in Gandy gallery I present two older pieces from the series inspired by a style of the well-known Swedish brand of mass-produced furniture, specifically PAX/NEXUS/SALVUS - Confessional and MALM-IN - Praying desk. In these works I examine the relationship between society - individual - Church - consumerism. PAX/NEXUS/SALVUS was created in 2005 and after that in 2008 I continued in this series with the polyfunctional drawer chest MALM-IN. This group of works will be completed with METOD - a new object I wanted to create for a long time but until now there had not been any opportunity to accomplish it.
New object METOD - Pulpit:
For a long time I take and collect photos of pulpits situated in various churches all over the Europe. I am interested in this kind of object from two different points of view. From one side, I consider it as an architectural, but very peculiar, object parasitizing in the sacral space. From the other side, I am interested in its special place, a hierarchical one, from which "the truth" is transmitted. The final form of METOD was conceived in collaboration with architect Marián Ravasz. The top part of a pulpit is usually formed into some kind of shed which serves to spread the sound. That is the reason why "an audio space" (created in collaboration with sound designer Matej Gyárfás) is integrated into METOD. This sound is diffused by a specific directional loudspeaker aimed to be heard by a single person at the time."

Ilona Németh


Ilona Németh (born in 1963, Dunajská Streda) is a Slovak artist coming from Hungary whose subversive work mainly oriented towards historical and cultural events has crossed the borders to be featured in international exhibitions like After the Wall, Stockholm (2000), Aspekten / Positionen, Vienna (1999), 49e Venice Biennial (Invitation for a Visit, Pavilion of the Czech and Slovak Republic, 2001, with Jiří Surůvka), Prague Biennale (2005, 2007, 2011), Gender Check, Vienna (2009), Dilemma, Ernst Museum, Budapest (2011), Blood, Slovak National Gallery, Bratislava (2012), The Hero, the Heroine and the Author, Ludwig Museum – Museum of Contemporary Art, Budapest (2012), Identity of the Space, The Brno Haus of Arts, Brno (2012), Good Girls, Museum of Contemporary Art, Bucharest (2013), The Harpoon Project, The University Art Gallery, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, New Bedford (2013), Revised Version,, Bratislava (2014), Private Nationalism, Bratislava (2014, 2015).  In 1987 she co-founded the artistic group "Studio Erté" in Nové Zámky, Slovakia, and since 2004 she runs "Ateliér IN" at the Department of Intermedia and Multimedia at the Academy of Fine Arts in Bratislava.  Ilona Németh is particularly interested in the historical events or social conditions of certain places, mainly to produce their critical version and to provide her own artistic interpretation. She also denounces the power of the media and the Catholic Church, usually with a certain sense of humor or provocation. She works with various media, among which installation, video, object and public art sculpture. 



For this exhibition at Gandy gallery, Ilona Németh, also invited one young artist, Kristián Németh (born in 1983), both educated at the Academy of Fine Arts in Bratislava, and whose works will develop the topics already introduced by Ilona Németh. 

I mostly deal with the criticism of the church from various perspectives and utilising various topics, such as homosexuality, pedophilia, etc. These works of art are mostly of personal character as the focus is on personal experience as well as on my family stories. Various techniques, such as video or installation, are used.

Kristián Németh

Kristián Németh (lives and works in Slovakia), this year's winner of the ESSL Award for young artists. 



The Bars, 2009
Video, 4:3. 8’18
Video The Bars shows an attitude of the Catholic Church towards homosexuality based on a real confession. The confession was recorded using a voice recorder in a confession booth and is accompanied by a video recording of a church. At the beginning, the video shows a cross. As we are slowly approaching the question of homosexuality, the camera is zoomed out and at the end, we see the whole interior of the church from behind the bars.
The video is completed with a letter with the stand of Slovak bishops towards this work. After exhibiting it at Moscow Biennial for Young Art 2014 Kristián Németh was excommunicated from Catholic Church.

Deformation, 2011
Photography installation
65 x 43 cm
Photography installation depicting moral deformation of the Church. The first photograph in the frame, taken from the front, shows the First Communion of a boy. Nothing extraordinary to be seen here. The second photograph, taken from the side, depict the fact that the candle the boy holds is not straight. The frame represents what the Church presents.