One Suspended Moment- The Notion of Sándor Körei’s Sculptures

The freshly cut flowers take their places in their unique, explicitly shaped boxes. They are floating in a cloud above the vase, separated within the ‘dissected’ composition. Soon we will witness the imprint of time ‘from the first row’ through the glass. The bouquet is slowly turning into its own memory. First, just withering life, then the dry and faded matter completely dominates the layout.

Artists have always been trying to hold onto and preserve a chosen moment. Busts of rulers, depictions of historic events and still lives recorded an ephemeral wink from history that artists wanted to perpetuate. As creative expressions, materials and structures change with time and new elements are brought into the collective concept of art. In the 20th century, classic still-lives that previously dominated the discipline of painting moved towards different practices and generated the spread of the ‘ready-made’, ‘assemblage’ or ‘installation’. An example of this is Daniel Spoerri, who established himself as the founder of ‘Eat Art’. Spoerri uses food in his practice to create his ‘Snare-pictures’, a mould of a moment, such as leftovers of a dinner.

However, the residue of a preserved moment in art is much less talked about. What happened to all those flowers and food melodramatically positioned and depicted in the 16-17th century still lives? And the famous apples, painted by Paul Cézanne? They had probably got rotten, if not eaten by someone. The story of the afterlife of the fruits had not been told…

Picture credit: Instagram

Sculptor Sándor Körei took inspiration from the aforementioned question and works to elongate and analyse a chosen moment. He uses materials in his art that can be regarded as atypical. Besides being unusual, his materiality brings different layers of meaning to his sculptures that spring when flowers start to lose their petals.

Picture credit: Instagram

Sándor Körei’s sculptures change and retain some kind of shift. This is the focus of his artistic concept. The young sculptor recently graduated from the Hungarian University of Fine Art and examined the classic ‘Flower still-life’ and ‘Vanitas’ topics from a different perspective for his dissertation project.

The Vanitas (all is vanity) or Memento mori (remember death) is a symbolic topic that had become popular in the 16th-17th century Danish and Flemish painting. The visual language has its own attributes and it is aimed to remind us that everything is temporal, the only certain thing in life is death.

Körei’s works as he calls ‘Preserved still lives’ is a visual analysis of specific ideas and situations. His sculptures play with ephemeral objects and discover the possibilities of different materials, parallel- narratives and the effect of time on art. The temporality of his art is a symbolic and conscious gesture.

As time goes by, flowers die, food gets rotten and balloons deflate- memento mori. 

Picture credit: Instagram

Each piece in his series has similar attributes. The artist uses everyday objects and places them in uniquely shaped glass boxes. Everything is in strict order, the system separates and connects the participating materials in the composition. The piled boxes build up a transparent, three-dimensional coordinate system in which elements are positioned according to their determined spatial situation. The material quality of the sculptures change, but materialising a 2D imaginary flower still-life is already a shift between dimensions. His 3D structures are in relation to the original pictures and can be regarded as their analytic display.

This year, Körei participated at the 35th National Scientific Students’ Associations Conference with his piece ‘Flowers with Vase’.

Picture credit: Instagram

In this work, the artist places 49 flowers on top of a vase. The flowers are separated from the pot, from a certain view they are floating above it. Inside the composition, they all own a personalised space. The organising structure collects and separates each piece of the work. As he specifies, the sculptor aims to preserve the time of the box’ closure.

From then on, time will continue to formulate his art. The participating objects are placed on a pedestal, creating the whole of the sculpture. Their presence is a display of perishing organic material, meanwhile, the vase stays intact.

The vase and the flowers are left in their aura to live/to be/to die.

It can be argued, at which point Körei’s sculptures are ready. Is it the closure of the box, when the flowers blossom, their unavoidable death, or maybe we find the truth halfway between…

Regardless of this answer, it is worth taking a moment to contemplate the fulfilment of time over art.

Picture credit: Instagram

Instagram of the artist: koreisandor

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Fruzsina Vida

Fruzsina Vida is the Arts & Culture Editor at The Yorker. If you have any questions or queries, please contact her at arts@theyorker.co.uk.