The attention that artists pay to sport, in their lives, but even more so in their work, is to be placed in the more general context of the problematic of the body and the relation to reality.
On the one hand, it underlines the growing interest shown by artists in sport, especially combat sports; on the other hand it says something of art itself, of a possible conception of art. It is on this double opening that the work of Szilard Gaspar is based.
Szilard Gaspar is a young Romanian / Hungarian sculptor and performer. The connection of body and mind characterizes the vision of the artist. He develops in his practice a reflection based on images, shapes and attitudes from the world of boxing.
Influenced by the Gutaï and the Western performance of the 70s, between action and concept, he expresses through each of his creations the energy deployed in a fight.
Professional boxer, Szilard uses art as a fighting sport or boxing as an art. The commitment, the tension, the confrontation, the break, the energy among others are present in both disciplines. For each performance, he prepares himself as for a competition, with daily training. His preparations are executed with the specificity and precision of an athlete. It revolves around the clay punching bag hanging on chains. The gaze, the punches are activated. This intuitive and very direct act generates a sculpture. No matter what aesthetics, what counts for Szilard is winning. It is stamped with bestial impulses. His physical sculptures mix an explosive expression of emotions. His message is rather noble: He uses his fists to create.
After long minutes, the punching bag is severely dented. The deep craters in the form of gloves draw the surface. Each stroke creates a new sculpture. He did the same with sculptures of the size and shape of a painting. The public witnesses this energy and visceral violence. He begins a quest to create a violent, irreverent and concrete art. He creates works based on this tense and physical energy that tell of the specificity of the game forces in wrestling sports.
Szilard eradicates the notion of beauty as an artistic criterion. His boxing experience makes him wonder about the ways to fight, fight and resist. The boxer comes out of his battle space to transpose it into an art gallery or any other space (Szilard Gaspar performed this during the past half decade together with Zorzin F Gallery from Bucharest several times, either in the gallery space or for several different Art Fairs around the world). This new ring, a space where it is easy to go from pain to triumph, from shade to light, is changing in our daily lives.
He takes his creations out of the boxing halls, places of tension and manifestation of the upheavals of the world. His performances bear witness to the confrontation of sculpture with the body and the material and the stories that are woven into it. His works are places of tension, possibly violence. Choosing to observe art from the point of view of tension and confrontation, and more specifically with respect to combat sports, may also be about other issues that are not clean to art but that it addresses in a way that its own.
Szilard Gaspar did not invent a new genre since it is in line with Art Action. This position of principle also corresponds to a conception of art as commitment, an art conceived and constructed by artists who yield nothing.
Provoking, dodging, cashing, conquering, framing, fighting are all verbs that have the power to summon and question our individual, collective and daily situations.
Writing by Severine Grsojean ( The Nomad Creative Projects), photos courtesy the artist