Art Palm Beach, the leading international modern and contemporary art fair that takes place in our city every January is coming back again with a show that will include more than 85 international galleries exhibiting paintings, sculptures, functional and innovative designs. Among this year’s exhibitors is Agnes Nagy, a Hungarian postwar and contemporary artist.
Her large statues of animals in glazed fireclay, brass, bronze, and steel mixed media will make a dazzling exhibit during the premiere mid-winter contemporary art fair.
An animal-based on its beauty or ugliness, goodness or wickedness, power or weakness-represents human thinking, passions, morals, and the relationship among humans in a symbolic and allegorical form. The several–thousand-year-old continuous and pervasive history of literary and artistic expression reminds us of the diversity of moral, social, and ideological and spiritual relations related to animals. To this day, we can see the image of an innocent lamb, a strong bull, a conceited frog, and other animals bearing an attribute that was ethologically refuted long ago.
Despite our scientifically and taxonomically quite solid knowledge of animals we still have our convictions and beliefs rooted in traditions of thousands of years old, and they form an integral part of art, literature, and cultural history—even though they don’t have any scientific basis—that still sustains the raison d’être of animal symbolism.
Modern arts relate to nature in a freer way compared to the past. But even individual visions couldn’t—and still can not—dispense with the effect of symbolism.
This is confirmed by the fascinating animal sculptures of Ágnes Nagy when they provide a multifaceted interpretation with their symbolic meaning. Every animal can have multiple meanings, no matter what message we see in their method of representation, but it always expresses man’s properties, emotions, his inner and sometimes subconscious world ruled by instincts.
Every sculpture by Agnes Nagy can be given a specific spiritual, ideological and moral meaning—that may be reformulated by the viewer—by combining reality and imagination, nature and mysticism together. The expressiveness of artistic credo is embodied in bronze, glazed fireclay, stainless steel, and realistic animal portrayals and all of them have a message that can be read in several ways.
The meaning of the animal sculptures abound in symbols in the work of Ágnes Nagy might change when they are placed outside, and sometimes it necessarily results in a change in interpretation.
For example, the reasoning read in connection with the perception of animal symbolism in one of St. Augustine’s expositions on the psalms regarding symbols should be considered timeless. So, the images of animals can be compared to the letters of the alphabet, therefore, their meaning and significance are not predefined but as the letters receive their meaning based on their position in the words, the meaning of the animals also changes according to the context and environment. We have to understand this consideration of Augustine when we study the meaning of animals and sometimes the seemingly limitless changes in their meaning.
Its roar draws attention to the duality of the soul. It is characterized by strength, cruelty, power but also by compassion and generosity; with its vigilance, it is the guardian of the dependents’ body and soul. Sometimes it is criticized for its pride, while at times it is clad in honor. Sometimes it is Satan or Christ, but it demands respect in all of its manifestations with its appearances, movements, and roar.
It is the most expensive crustacean, and it is the culinary symbol of wealth, prosperity and luxury, but it also is a symbolic representation because it teaches us how to change, float with time, shed our old shell, and put on a new one. By shedding its shell and growing a new one, this crustacean symbolizes not only the resurrection but also the renewal of habits and a way of life.
The bull, also known as the sacrificial animal of chief god, Zeus, is the most difficult animal to tame. It is the symbol of intemperance, rage, masculinity, fertility, and audacity; bravely and proudly engaging the enemy. Its magnificent horns also place emphasis on its pugnacious nature. Its raised foreleg and dilated nostrils indicate that the ferocious beast is ready to fight.
You can see and acquire Agnes Nagy’s work at Erdész Gallery & Design exhibiting at Art Palm Beach from January 31 – February 03, 2020. It will be an impressive display of the work of this outstanding artist from a contemporary generation that continues to influence how we view art today.
If you visit, Art Palm Beach will happen at Palm Beach County Convention Center, 650 Okeechobee Boulevard. Public hours from 12 PM – 7 PM. Find tickets to the show here and more information about the artist here.