curriculum vitae




Lévai Zoltán


Lévai Zoltán / in the street, Budapest /




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graduated from the Faculty of Painting of the Hungarian Academy of Fine Arts.

The creator or the artist is the video camera mounted on a small car. Nothing special is happening on the film, but the camera is tirelessly recording the city streets, dust and peoples' legs. Sometimes it makes noises as it contends with the bumps and gaps in the pavement. We stare at it because the ground, where we walk, never can be seen with such intensity, as so many other things draw our attention. The film forces us into meditative contemplation, at least in persons whose sensory organs have not been unduly blunted. The camera mounted on the small car directed by a remote controller is recording from a new and unknown viewpoint from which we can never see the town. In this spontaneous film there is no photo gesture, manipulative intent or staged view. The film is directed by chance and not with programmed consciousness. The artwork goes on its own way.
Our path of life seems to appear to us, and suddenly we wonder whether a machine is directing us. We feel all the burdens of living in a city whilst the world in which we live is unknown to us. There are no connections and we do not belong to any community, but at the same time we are great in number. We have lost our individual faces and everybody is the same. "We are thrown into the world" (Heidegger). This can be seen from our anxiety. In an empty town the camera is searching for signs of life, elements of meaning, left after the catastrophe. People left by God without any purpose are wondering in the world. Humans are searching for something cling to. It seems to us that we can see Marcuse's unidimensional man in the film who does not know freedom and the terminology of individual autonomy. We are part of the mechanically directed process. The film is repellent and we do not want to empathize with it but it is attracting us as we have the desire to struggle.
Although the film is describing reality (what is reality?), it nonetheless is calling us to a different and inconceivable world. The pleasure of invention is enticing and induces us to start with our imagination.
The film belongs to a genre of conceptual art recorded without any manipulation from the real street, if this can be regarded as art. First of all it does not seek to raise the question of art like the ready-made art of Duchamp but the essence of the concept is the changing of sensual impact into conceptual art. The everyday is raised to the level of artwork, a kind of intellectual avant-garde which is not activist, not rebellious and not of elitist nature, and there are no aggressive actions are there to draw our attention to the action of rebellion. It is much more contemplative, reducing activity to a minimum, answering with minimalism to the shrill, picturesque and audiovisual of everyday life. It establishes the place of rebellion, resisting the imposition of manipulated advertisements and the kitsch of popular culture. My film rejects the gastronomic aspect of art and the criteria of the pleasant and the enjoyable in favour of the adventure of recognition.

"Estheticism is the ability to observe more than superficially appears in things" – Adorno.
People can perceive hidden meanings by their creative ability, these being meanings which are not directly manifest.
According to Bergson, to understand the essence of matters, intellectual understanding also is necessary and it has a higher rank than sensual, which is just one kind of instinct. Bergson intuition is our ability to lighten our personality, freedom and place in nature in such a way as to reflect our sensual impression.
I myself regard my works as philosophy but the atmosphere of the understanding is not the logic of language rather than intuition and empathic personal experience. It is philosophy because it is looking for the answer to basic questions such as "What is the human being?" and "Where is the world going?"
The most important characteristic of a human being, which distinguishes him from all other creatures, is that he can analyze himself, remember his experiences, locate himself and know his place in the world. This self-analysis is a continuously changing process. This hermeneutical of view of oneself is part of human existence and art is the most important means of self-analysis.

I have been working on experimental spontaneous films for several years. The theme of my films is the crowded streets, parks and public squares of Budapest. The video camera is mounted on a small car. Can we find unmanipulated intentions in everyday life? The video camera mounted on a car with a remote controller is recording an unknown view, a new dimension of the town which otherwise we can never see. The photo and the film can be defined in a different way, in which there are no photo gestures, photo consciousness or artificial photographic views. Everything can be photographed and there is no special viewpoint; all kinds of possibilities are neglected. The film is directed by chance and not by manipulated and programmed consciousness, which cannot defeat us but which forces our direct perceptions. The film recording moments by chance cannot be repeated because it is unique in time. To understand this film we have to discard our traditional and conventional views so as not to see our environment with our accustomed blindness - this is one of the aims of my works.



Eszter egy fotókereskedésben talált, 1944-ből származó dia.
Az Eszter-projekt az időhöz kötődik, az idő végtelenségéhez és megfoghatatlanságához. Hogyan tud Eszter a mával kommunikálni? Hol volt Eszter? Létezik-e a tudható történet? Eszter egy arisztokratikus zsidó nő, aki bizonyára járta a világot. Eszter titkát akarom megfejteni, ami nem más, mint a mosolya. Eszter egy modern Mona Lisa, akinek rejtett mosolyát akarom megőrizni a 21. század számára.

A tudat a jelen és a múlt között oszcillál és a tudat mélyéről lassan előszivárog Eszter története.
Az Eszter-projekt abban a reményben készült, hogy többet megértünk belőle
Ezzel az új dimenzióval feltárulhat számunkra valami, ami addig rejtve volt.

Lévai Zoltán


A rajz

Az alkotókészség az ember eredendõ sajátossága. Minden ember kreatív. A kisgyermek még öntudatlanul, ösztönösen
alkot, de késõbb, a tudatosság egy adott szintjén, 10 éves kor körül elveszti ezt a képességét, hogy magát õszintén,
gátlásoktól mentesen kifejezze. Az elsõ lépés ezért a személyiség mélyén szunnyadó, elveszettnek hitt kreativitás
megtalálása és felszabadítása. A mûalkotás az ösztönösség és a tudatosság egyensúlyából születik, ezért ezután a
tudatos rajztanulás következik. A tanulás lépésrõl lépésre történik, amelynek elsõ mozzanata a vonal. A vonal
megismerésével egy csodálatos világ tárul fel: a rajz világa, ami néhány kivételesen tehetséges ember számára
továbbvezethet a mûvészet felé.

Lévai Zoltán