Category Archives: Written about my art

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Éva Dóri szobrászművész

Author name: Dóri Éva, sculptor

Title: Surrealism’s discreet charm – Images and interpretations

Subjective projections regarding Ica Maria Zilahi’s paintings

21st January, 2013

Among Ica Zilahi’s paintings I was captivated by the feeling that this is something else. Different from the usual. Is is truly good because it is neither strained nor stubborn. Only honest. It brings together motifs gathered from reality and mature “grown up” experiences hidden behind childlike naivety. Perhaps most fortunately, here we cannot use the visual communication’s usual formulas. We become witnesses to personal stories and mythology, the obvious forms and figures become new in the infinity of the picture plane, and sometimes even appear in unusual contexts.

Ica Zilahi is at once representative because she is recognizable, and at the same time expressive, because she communicates particular stories mostly derived from real situations and objects. Before our eyes, the usual, natural and mundane are transformed into the painter’s ideas.

Walking among the paintings we become the characters of fairy tales and personal stories, freed from the boundaries of civilization and society, finding ourselves on a stage, becoming someone else. And during all this, the painter delicately perceives our dreams, errors, personal truths. This sometimes feels warming, other times ironic or grotesque, but is always handled with nuanced delicacy. And if we look at the paintings as “true” mirrors, we can find in them the reality out of which this fairytale land that is Ica Zilahi’s world is built on. We could ask what is the reason for pushing reality so far off. The given answer is that some things only become visible through this distorted but honestly plain mirror, and they are brought to the surface by the surrealism’s discreet charm. This is the only way in which we can talk about these things, putting aside unpleasant situations we can explore from there our human weaknesses. It is slightly bitter, but beautiful, and fills us with good feelings. This is what makes everything real, authentic.

The miracle of art is that using its own resources it achieves the unachievable, and expresses the unexpressable. The brilliance of the painter is that she is able to use these artistic tools, making use of them to reach her goals, and making others see these as well. Originality becomes this art’s virtue, there are no stale imitations here.

These paintings gently touch the viewer, with their colourful fairytale world reminiscent of a carefree childhood, of delicate dolls and butterflies that fly over the languid and heavy hours of adult life’s gray and ordinary days. And we need this magic the same way we need unclouded happiness, of which we have so little, but which is indispensable to our survival.

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IRÉN PILASZANOVITCH – Historicist of arts



Author: Pilaszanovich Irén – art historian

 Title: The art of Ica Zilahi

29th November, 2012

Postal Museum and Cultural Foundation – Benczur House

Ica Zilahi’s work is built first of all on intuition. It hints of a tenderness that could even be a prime criterion for suprematism. Her sensitivity suggests that the tenderness is not an alloy to something, but the point expressly named and presented: the immanent center of her world view.

But still, the thing violently pushed forward in the professional barbarian’s mind, asking to be expressed in big print is this surrealism… “beautiful like the chance meeting of a sewing machine and an umbrella on the dissection table”. The astounding image pairing is the emblematic signature of surrealist thinking imagery.

Nevertheless, Zilahi is not a brutal and cruel nor distant and cold intellect, neither a philosophically inclined creator. We already know this ism has so many variations. We could also say that her surrealism is a very feminine one, and she uses very particular symbols. Knowledge here is useless, association is more important, and each viewer can incorporate the images in their own linguistic system.

Ica Zilahi’s paintings are not characterized by exaltation, confused feelings or shouts calling for retaliation.

In my opinion we need to address the role of the puppet-doll images. Each doll is a small self-portrait that most honestly reflects its creator’s psychological state. With eyes wide open, in their best clothes, these dolls show us a destiny. They wait, closed in boxes… Their skinny little limbs are incapable of moving, even in the best case scenario they just stumble around as in “Oops oops little girl”. The author does not hint at their similarity, but at their state, their fallen and vulnerable character.

Zilahi purloins the real time in which the story might have taken place, and does the same thing with the space as well.

We must peremptory mention the suggestive guess as a specific to Zilahi’s painting, who uses such theatrically constructed forms that can be praised in “last supper” terms.

From whatever standpoint we look at Ica Zilahi’s work and try to analyze it, we are always awaiting admission in to the secret realm she suggests, to which not even the often depicted key motifs are sure to open the gate… Her poetic vision, because Zilahi is indeed creating poetry, like synesthesia, is waiting to be unraveled by metaphor… I could continue to write about colors, the strong reds and cold blues, and their particular relationship. About the old stone kitchen floors, carved toys and tin cars, about still life and its special appearances, and their refined melting together. Or about her captivating professionalism regarding painting.

We viewers, as recipients, get the opportunity to turn inwards into ourselves with her help. Because the best guarantee of enjoying art is a better knowledge of ourselves.