Bloc party: Zsofia Schweger’s minimal paintings of Hungarian domestic interiors
Hungarian artist Zsofia Schweger has called Budapest, New York, Boston and most recently London home, so it’s little wonder that domestic spaces form the core of the young artist’s work. ‘I have been preoccupied with the idea and definition of home for years now,’ says Schweger. ‘Often when you’re asked where you’re from or about your hometown, people just mean the country or town where you were born or where your family is from. So that kind of becomes your home by definition, or home by default, and then you need to qualify your response further.’
Until the end of September, Schweger is presenting the work produced during her six-month Griffin Art Prize residency at the London gallery in her debut solo exhibition, curated by Becca Pelly-Fry. Her minimalistic paintings, she says, bring together ‘potentially pleasant interiors rendered in possibly seductive colours with a sure sense of alienation expressed by reductive, non-hierarchical paint application’.
Schweger was born the year the Berlin Wall fell. Between the arrival of American cartoons and Burger King to her native Hungary, the artist witnessed first-hand the swell of capitalism. ‘I like the playfulness of the word “bloc”, without the “k”, having political implications for the Eastern Bloc versus Western Europe,’ says Schweger. ‘The word block itself works with my paintings, as it’s three-dimensional blocks of furniture flattened out into two-dimensional blocks of colours.’
Sometimes, the artist yearns to return home to her native Hungary. But the muted palette of her paintings belies an underlying anxiety, reconciling a sense of nostalgia for her childhood with the uncertainty of home, belonging and identity.