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.