POTATO SHRINES

Hungarian artist Gergö Bánkuti narrates disappearing folk culture and corrupted social bonds through carving religious symbols and imagery into potatoes.
potato scupltures - Altair (2)

Gergö’s works are influenced by a kind of nostalgia connected to his childhood memories, reminiscing Hungarian rural and community life. Below he explains the thought process behind painting the holy imagery onto the tiny shrines that emerge from the potatoes.

“Potatoes are tightly connected to agricultural work. In our home, the whole family took part in the process of growing them. These actions, like all sort of housework, are eminently monotonous. However, a repetitive working procedure can also be seen as a sort of meditation or prayer. In the life of the Hungarian peasants, work and religion have always composed an inseparable and organic unity. I remember my grandmother’s shelves full of religious calendars, pictures of saints, crucifixes, figures of Virgin Mary and rosaries. In order to preserve the memory of this life, I started carving these images into potatoes. The conservation of the potato-sculptures is implemented with salt. With this phenomenon, the moisture – the ’water of life’ – seeps away while the potato itself shrinks. This process is connected to the distortion of our memories. The water’s disappearance from the plant is in parallel with the fading of our emotions when we look at one relic left behind by our ancestors.”

potato scupltures - Heart of Jesus (3)
potato scupltures - Holy Family (4)
potato scupltures - Crucifix I (5)
potato scupltures - Guardian angel (1)
potato scupltures - Altair (2)
potato scupltures - Holy water crucifix (4)
potato scupltures - Virgin Mary (6)
potato scupltures - Madonna II (1)

WORK PROCESS

Screen Shot 2020-03-03 at 17.40.13
Screen Shot 2020-03-03 at 17.40.04
Screen Shot 2020-03-03 at 17.40.29

ARTWORK DISPLAYED AT EXHIBITION

Gergő Bánkúti - Madonna (potato sculptures)
Gergő Bánkúti - Enterior 10 (potato sculptures)
Gergő Bánkúti - Enterior 08 (potato sculptures)
Gergő Bánkúti - Guardian angel (potato sculptures)

ABOUT / Gergő Bánkúti, was born in 1991 in Hungary and is a visual artist based in Budapest. He got his BA in visual arts from the Eszterházy Károly University and an MFA painter degree from the Hungarian University of Fine Arts in Budapest. He’s been working with painting, drawing, installations, sculpting and video art.

Initially starting as a painter, Gergö has created many genre-pictures based on family photographs with the main interest being the exploration of remembrance. A number of his works concern the issue of memory, passing away, absence and our relation to our ancestors’ inheritance through a symbolic way.

As he further describes: “Most of my works can be seen as imprints of weakened social structures caused by globalization and urbanization. I make memorials of the past life – both as a personal narrative and as a larger social history about disappearing village life and weakened social structures.”

Artwork / Gergő Bánkúti

Did you like it?
Share it with your friends

You may also like

Through paintings inhabited by enigmatic fluttering creatures, rippling with pleasant waveforms and a masterful play of surfaces, Czech painter Jakub Tytykalo teases the viewers' minds with subconscious imagery that materilizes a diferrent inner vision for each perceptive pair of eyes.
Having shifted from a comics book format to a more traditional approach to painting, Niklas Asker has taken to express with his art the mysterious elements of human existence. His masterful pieces touch on religion, spirituality and a sense of longing, and in today’s interview Niklas divulges his method and background that led to his current style.
The Iraqi-Slovak artist Karíma Al-Mukhtarová uses the techniques of embroidery and ceramics to explore a wide spectrum of topics. Be it the myriad masks everyone wears in a single day, questions of truth coded into body language, or even her complex heritage, the internationally acclaimed creator in today’s feature discusses the motivations behind her pieces.
Focusing on the subtle nuance in depicting a seemingly banal human experience, the Armenian artist Annemari Vardanyan covertly reveals the contact lines of clashing cultures. Using her signature eclectic style and drawing on her personal history, she explores the reality of living as a migrant who escaped a troubled homeland only to encounter the more abstract forms of global conflict.