The photographs can freeze the moment and at the end of the editing process, I could play with timing
As a contemporary artist who is also a mother, Csilla Klenyànszki knows the trials and tribulations of timekeeping like no other. Ten years ago now, the Hungarian-born artist moved to The Netherlands. After completing a photography course at the Willem de Kooning Academy in Rotterdam, Csilla moved to Amsterdam, where she had her studio up until the birth of her son. “During that first year of parenthood”, says Csilla, “when I felt my identity dramatically changing - I found it hard to find a balance between my previous and new personas. Without access to affordable child care, and in the particular case of a migrant artist like myself, without the support of a family network, the only studio time I had was during my son’s naps.”
Transforming her home – the domestic sphere – into a studio for 30 minutes at a time, Csilla created ‘Pillars of home’, a series of 98 balancing sculptures, in situ installations. “The floor-to-ceiling constructions rely on their own inner stability while being framed only by the floor and the ceiling”, explains Csilla.
It’s a recurrent theme in her work, even before she became a mother. She tells: “My work can be seen as personal research for balance - constant attraction to physical and mental tension. The projects play with the borders of nonsense; something that looks foolish at first, always finds it right place at the end. The nature of the work is highly playful and experimental, but the approach is rather analytic.”
Even though her aesthetics have remained constant, Csilla feels that conceptually her work has evolved. Still life photography remains a big interest, as well as gender, the transformation of objects and how to combine human elements with objects. Yet, nowadays she merges these concepts with the element of time more in her working process. “Whether it is the question of lack of time, passage of time or a perfect balancing moment, time is definitely a subject I like to work with.”
This is apparent in her newly created piece made with Komono’s Signature watches. In it, Csilla plays with the idea of a clock and “how you - literally - make time”, she explains further. “I started to think about timekeeping devices”, she muses. “In the video, called ‘In a snap’ you can see a male hand as part of three DIY timekeeping devices, such as a mechanical clock, an hour glass and a pendulum.”
The video is stop-motion, giving yet another impression of the passage of time itself. “The photographs can freeze the moment and at the end of the editing process, I could play with timing.” The result is reflective of Csilla’s way of handling the precious time she has to divide between her practice and her home life. As she says about her constantly evolving creative process: “I continue developing exercises that test both my mental and physical capabilities in a constant quest to find harmony.”