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Artistic contribution

to Cultural versus National Borders

Csaba Szentesi


„Holland-német import kilós ruha“

Dutch-german imported clothes by weight

„Contribution VII: 35x45cm“

mixed media (t-shirt, white textile on woodframe

In Hungary, nobody is suprised to see such a sign in a shop-window or display. This particular shop is doubtlessly selling clothes, unwanted, outgrown or outworn by the Dutch and Germans to the penniless locals. So these hand-me-downs not only have a story of their own, a relevance in two distinct cultural and social settings, and establish – physical and spiritual – contacts between people living far away from each other, but they also indicate the relations between the countries: I have never heard about Hungarian second-hand clothes being sold in Germany.

When people in the Netherlands or in Germany, for some reason or another, do not want to wear some of their clothes anymore, sometimes even after years of wearing them they give them away (presumably for free) to special companies (aid organizations?) collecting clothes. These clothes are then imported to Hungary in great quantities, and here those, who aren’t particularly well of, buy them and continue wearing them. (There is probably a relatively big demand for these clothes here, otherwise it wouldn’t be worth selling them.)

This transnational interaction is in effect the subject of my artpiece. By transforming these second-hand clothes into ’traditional’ canvases, and using them to decorate smaller public spaces (cafés, shops, etc), I would like to inspire costumers to think about this subject in contemplative, associative ways.

The signs found on the pictures in and of themselves usually do not indicate the origin and the background of the clothes, but they do imply other cultural settings with and beyond the intentions of the manufacturers.

What are the inner relations of the artpiece? What is the correlation between the „history” of the clothes, their existence as decorative artpieces, the signs seen on them, and the intention of the artist? These were the central questions in the creative process, and so the artpiece comprises several easily distiungishable components:
- the history, the background and the purpose of the clothes
- the transnational interactions
- the clothes’ continuing existence as decorative artpieces
- the diverse implications and connotations of the signs
- the intention of the artist, that this decoration in public spaces should induce contemplation on the „history” of the clothes


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