I am a British-Hungarian artist based in Lincolnshire. My work addresses painting as a means of translation, it brings together interrogations concerning identity, our personal and collective unconscious, and delves into the symbolism, messages and representation of dreams.
I worked as an architect for fifteen years and fine art practice has always been an important factor in my life. In 2016 I began my studies for an MFA degree in Nottingham.
I believe that our unconscious has important messages for us, in the form of dreams, which are worth listening to. Dreams can help us to gain better insight into problems, offer new and creative solutions, and lead to a new way of thinking. Not only because our brain can work freely during sleeping when there are no disturbances from daily life, but because it has access to both the personal and the collective unconscious. This inner world of ours, where a higher intelligence resides, can be a source of imaginative wisdom and understanding. Looking for the latent content of dreams, interpreting the messages of this symbolic language gives us the opportunity to find the meaning of life, to fulfil our true destiny, to make full use of our potential. Dreams are an inexhaustible resource of inspiration.
Dreams make the unconscious accessible; showing us what we do not know, what we do not notice.
Painting dreams, using dreams as a basis for visual arts has always been present in human history, but the most well-known art movement that merged dreaming and reality into a kind of absolute reality, was the Surrealism. I combine their approach with a keen interest in Jungian psychology; agreeing with Jeanette Winterson’s specification, that artistic constructions are not private dreams but collective (i.e. archetypal) visions. The world the artist’s imagination creates “is not a private nightmare, not even a private dream, it is a shared human connection that traces the possibilities of past and future in the whorl of now.” (1.Onega, S. (2013). Jeanette Winterson. Oxford University Press.)
My work examines the representation of nocturnal dreams, focusing mainly on those which appear in the hypnagogic phase of sleeping. These are the ones that go through our minds as we fall asleep or slowly awaken. In the state of lucid dreaming, I use the capability of the unconscious to create snapshots related to a given topic or problem, and then consciously pick up on them. Interpreting these oneiric images alongside my dreams, with the help of a Jungian analyst, makes it possible to choose the ones that I feel are worth investigating and portraying either on their own or as a collection. Some of my dreams are transferred to canvas without any translation, while others are corrected by waking reasoning. I prefer to develop a painting soon after the dream experience, when the vision is still very clear in my head. In this case the painting will not only depict a scene or an object, but can give back the feelings related to the dream. My artworks are characterized by unrealistic, vivid colours which give them dreamlike quality.
I investigate the potential of lucid dreaming in the creation process.
I paint mainly with acrylics, incorporating text elements in different languages into my paintings as metaphors for the unconscious and as symbols of multiculturality and constant change which are important factors in my own life. The same way as these texts cannot be fully read or understood, the information from our unconscious cannot be completely retrieved.
Creating my final dreamscapes consists of the process of translation and the difficulty of transferring information through the boundaries of language, culture and personal experience. This very much relates to the way I see the act of portraying dreams as smuggling information from the unconscious - an incommunicable inner world - to the real life; going beyond the manifest content through interpreting its language written in symbols and metaphors.
I think that to live a happy and satisfying life, we have to believe in our own significance and in a meaningful existence, whilst acknowledging and respecting the uniqueness and intrinsic value of every human being. To achieve this, having a clear sense of one’s own identity and individuality are crucial.
The feelings invoked by my work lead the audience to scrutinize their own life and struggles, to look within, ultimately to discover their own truth, identity, and meaning.
The theoretical base for my works mainly consists of the ideas of Carl Gustav Jung. The main questions for me belong to his concept of individuation, describing the process by which we can fulfil our true potential. Discovering and getting as close to our real, inner self as possible, lifting the veil of the ego, understanding our own identity will give us a grasp of true reality, a full comprehension of the world surrounding us.
Why is individuation important? How can individuation be a significant component in relation to Brexit? When it comes to decisions, it is better if we can make our choices without being led to make that decision. To know what is the best for us we have to be aware of our true self, our real Self; and not behaving according to assumed or real social expectations. Not having a culturally influenced viewpoint when it comes to decisions. Understanding ourselves and knowing the unconscious factors shaping human decisions can lead to sound and well-founded decisions.
How can art help us in this process? Artworks based on the ideology and representing the topic of individuation show the viewers in pictures what they could comprehend by reading Jung’s works. In the same way as the wall paintings of churches and cathedrals served the illiterate in their understanding of the Bible, these Jungian ideology based paintings can support the viewers’ understanding of the Self, apprehension of the collective and personal unconscious. Therefore this is a way of enhancing human potential and promoting the individual and common good.
Works representing the struggle of humans and the oppressing forces of society are addressing the collective challenges of our moment in history. Viewers put themselves in the position presented on the painting and try to work out a solution for themselves, making the artwork a catalyst for individual and cultural transformation.
Copyright @ Szilvia Ponyiczki 2016-2018