“I believe in the future resolution of these two states, dream and reality, which are seemingly so contradictory, into a kind of absolute reality,
a sort of surreality, if one may so speak.” (André Breton)

My works depict the dynamism of remembrance and continuously re-interpret everyday situations. I emphasize the incidence, which composes seemingly distant elements into one given frame of space and time. Representing the reminiscent ego, the images become dreamlike and personal.

The dynamic memory selects freely, composing a new, fictional narrative world, like in Surrealism. Beyond free association by photomontage and collage, my recurrent sources of inspiration are motifs and materials. Works that come into being this way reflect Central European situations in a studiously personal and ironic manner. These works start from the images of news coming from my actual surroundings. Then I paint the protagonists of photos I collected onto this layer to rewrite the real news into fictional narrative situations by the collage technique.

Dynamic memory, confronting and composing real/unreal, experience/non- experience, has a significant role in creating these works. During this process I reflect on the press also, by creating my own liberty of press in these works. Parallel and reverse time horizons meet in a visual way, within the transparent layers of the photo film just like in the ancient palimpsestus. By fusing these layers, collage works become fictional images, summaries of our social existence.

(Júlia Végh: ESSL Art Award CEE 2015 Artist Statement, in: Diversity of Voices, Essl Art Award CEE 2015, eds. Clara Brandstätter and Viktoria Calvo-Tomek, 2015, Klosterneuburg, Sammlung Essl, 46.)


How does a newly (2015) graduated painter reflect upon the flow of news coming from the media? However, in the case of Júlia Végh, born in 1990, the notion of an entrant is slightly deceiving, since she has been a consciously self-developing artist since the age of 15, when one of her works was selected for Cartoon Networkʼs competition in London. Besides the professional acknowledgements (two Barcsay-prizes), she was also included in corporate art programmes (OTP Bank, Unicredit Bank). International recognition was also quick to come: she was an Essl Art Awardee and was also included in the Benetton Collection and its 2015 Venice exhibition.

It is not by chance that ever since her childhood, the other half of her life was filled with ballet and fencing, both of these activities demanding high concentration, self-discipline and resistance to failure, which helped her to proceed in her artistic career too. It is with the present series that she enters the arena of emerging artists with her own individual world view since these small works condense all major points of her ideas as an artist.

The first such element is the subject matter of public life. Her images used to be centred on neutral objects, natural motifs, but after a few years of maturation, her interest turned towards social situations in an urban environment, specifically in public spaces. Her series presented here could not be imagined without the human figures; these are not portrayed individuals, rather types flashed in the clarity of a situation whose determining factors are their interrelationships and tensions.

Visualizing social conflicts merely by a painterʼs tools would be commonplace. The twist is in the montage of different situations. The artist partly collects random material from the internet, and partly makes deliberate photos of situations, and with a patient juxtaposition of pieces from her ever- growing collection, she selects various originally diverse elements, which are then combed together by free association. This method, inspired
by the associative process of the surrealists, makes the artist the sole intellectual owner of these pieces. Her memories and film directorial approach determine the composition that is finally revealed to us.

The technique is a multi-step process, starting with the printing of a photo onto the medium, which is then repainted by the artist. In the first, greater part of the series, consisting of 25 images, the medium is transparent plastic foil. Relying on her inner concentration, the young artist has departed from traditional (e.g. canvas) surfaces and moved towards more ethereal images on transparent plastic foil. The dreamlike feature of her works is also strengthened by the craggy frames that slightly lift the pieces from the walls, creating a shadow behind and hence underlining the multiple layers of the wall, the plastic, the print and the painting.

Just like in antique palimpsests, visual stimuli are fitted upon each other, their effects sometimes unexpectedly extinguishing, at other times strengthening each other. Their composition becomes the message, the artist’s interpretation of the points of concentration and confrontation of the surrounding world, while it is also an invitation for the viewers to add their own thoughts to the interpretation. This intuitive freedom is also supported by the fact that although the images are mostly unmistakeable collages of the yet unprocessed memories, dilemmas of the Eastern European near past and present, their tonality is neither depressive nor self-pitiful.

Linking diverse visual elements by free association proves overall to be enigmatic or ironic, such as the clerical person delivering a speech for an audience dressed in neon yellow safety vests, against a chessboard-like, checked-floor industrial space, or the two youngsters balancing like acrobats on the gurney that is being pushed into an ambulance car. It also has a liberating effect on the viewers that they do not need to dig deep for some kind of preconceptions, but rather to understand these images as inspirations to activate their visual imagination.


Three works, each smaller than A4 size. An application for an art award could hardly be more restrained. In fact, the three paintings come from the same series and could have been proposed as one work, leaving room for two further series or compositions to be handed in at the application, and to be shown at the Nominees Ex hibition, within the limit of three works per artist. This core strategy of highlighting a single series, of miniature size, came to work well, earning a prize for Júlia Végh.

She had followed the same concept of focusing on select painterly devices already in building up the paintings. First, by concentrating on a well-defined set of social and political events from the public arena of the post-Soviet region, content-wise she had developed a clear issue. Second, as explained in her statement, although the technique of interpreting these news cut-outs is way more complex, yet it promotes again a well-thought-out conclusion on the inseparable borderline situation of imaginary and real scenes. All in one, a single series, small sizes, a narrow focus on seemingly banal, widely-distributed photographic snapshots of mass media news coverage, as well as a commitment to a psychological rendering of (sur)realistic painting: this is the recipe that underlies Júlia Végh’s programme.

We observe a determination to reduce to a minimum the means by which the artist pursues her goals; yet the result is far from being reductive. The small compositions offer an abundance of dynamic street scenes which we are invited to read individually, according to our own experience of these violent events from current East European public life. The colour spectrum is no less vibrant, with glowing reds and alarming yellows rushing up against cool greys and aristocratic whites. The interplay of photography and painting on the transparent foil, rather than traditional canvas, provides another welcome puzzle to the eye. As layers are mounted on each other, the works gain a powerful depth, like reliefs.

This healthy juxtaposition of few artistic means reinforcing each other in favour of innumerable effects guarantees the riches of these paintings, making this series a relative of earlier Hungarian award winners (Dia Zékány, 2013; apart from her larger sizes, also Anett Hámori, winner (2011) both in political content and in what we would call conceptual-realistic painterly medium.

(Diversity of Voices, Essl Art Award CEE 2015, eds. Clara Brandstätter and Viktoria Calvo-Tomek, 2015, Klosterneuburg, Sammlung Essl, 47.)