Songs without lyrics

The paintings of Dóra Juhász may be wondered at like a natural phenomenon: a rainbow, a mackerel sky or a feather of a peacock. However, these are not visual analogies, not the traceable or identifiable sources of inspiration. The surfaces occupying the form of the panel picture mirror by no means the imagery of the world, nor do they model the universal law of reality. If the viewer transcends his/her plain perception and starts to think about them, sooner or later s/he blunders into the notion of ornamentation which, then again, sets interpretation on an inescapable path. It precludes the derivation of the picture from the window-metaphor; it does not enable the painted surface to be comprehended as the plane section of the viewing frustum. The world of the painting appears to us as an unfolded oriental carpet. The square seized from the infinite plane is covered by expanding motif; the place of the repetitive elements is shaped by the aspects of rhythm, symmetry and the relation to the edges of the square – the boundaries of the image. Not even the shapes of the forms are alien from the prominent ornamental (and of course meaning bearer) designs of oriental carpets, rosettes, scrolls, medallions. Despite the continuous system of motifs, their compositional array recalls just as much the garden as the garden-carpets replete with flowers. (Nota bene: this edited formula reminiscent of the paradise garden is also noticeable on the tile works and bindery of Islamic art). The order of the patches is defined by horizontal-vertical axes. Although this systematy – in spite of all palpability – remains hidden, neither net nor grid evolves from it. Its imaginary equation does not belong to the order of the world, rather to the flowerbeds. In the place of roots complex, colorful, insecurely contoured but identically characterized spots can be found. Neither are they specified nor are they abstract, they aren’t anymore organic as they are geometrical. In their elusiveness bouncing between gesture and sign, not even iconography provides handhold, as the shapes evocative of mandorla motifs of Christian art may derive from the natural movement of the hand that mixes the paint on the palette – from biological automatism. Focillon’s precaution was thus not undue. We constantly fall into temptation in order to search for a meaning of the form that is beyond itself and to merge the idea of the form with its image, which assumes the depiction of an object, but chiefly with the concept of the sign. The sign has a meaning whilst the form means itself – as put in The Life of Forms. The forms employed by Dóra Juhász are patches devoid of meaning and clearly defined ornamental function, painterly islands par excellence, the status of which can be understood solely with the foundation, background. Their location is evident in relation to the boundaries of the picture; however, it is rather enigmatic correlated to the virtual plane. They can be interpreted as fissures apparent on the surface, absence or applied layers, excess, yet, they can’t be related to the two dimensional versions of decoration. The relation of patch and non-patch (that is positive and negative patch) becomes the key to the composition. This is the world of iconic evidence where decoding is neither necessary nor possible. The only tangible thing is the feeling of order. This order is that of the line of dunes, the rolling of coastal waves, the irregular march of the elks, in which nothing is recurring the same way, but the consistency manifesting in repetition is the most essential feature of order. As Apollinaire states: the squabble of adventure and order. 
György Várkonyi
© 2020 Juhász Dóra