IMMERSIVE ANXIETY

István Hutter, the Netherlands-based Hungarian visual artist captures in his works the underlying inhospitability of supposedly friendly environments. Channeling his history with an anxiety disorder, he presents the Recreation series to express the gnawing sensation of crowded spaces – including in 360° VR. Among other things, in today’s interview he discusses his inspirations, narratives and the absence of arms of his characters.

”Recreation ” is an illustration series that shows uncomfortable social situations in supposedly positive and relaxing environments. In these images I depict people as a cohesive and grotesque crowd. They are frequently cut off from the composition, which adds an unpleasant feeling to the images. I drew most of these characters without arms, as a symbol of inhospitality (the inability to give, touch, or caress). This is a common symbol in many of my works. The human body is shown fragmented, distorted, and imperfect. Even when presented in company, it distances and alienates my characters as they lack the basic abilities to reach out for intimacy and warmth.

As part of my BA diploma project at the Willem de Kooning Academy in Rotterdam, I created a 360° VR diorama based on the Sauna scene. This animation focuses more on how people suffering from Social Anxiety Disorder perceive their surroundings. The crowded sauna cabin with no exit door, the static camera and perspective distortion that come with this technique, and the gossiping people are meant to show the viewer how it feels when anxiety kicks in. I felt it was important to discuss this because people with this condition are frequently misunderstood and labelled as cold, phlegmatic, pompous, shy, unfriendly, or simply negative because they cannot always behave in situations as expected – positively and fully involved (like I could not for a long time).

For the complete experience it is recommended to watch the video with virtual reality headset and earphones. If you do not have one please set the resolution to 8k and look around in the scene with your mouse.

Interview 

What is the main storyline you want to express with your artworks and how can we relate to the characters you portray?

Many of my works are concerned with human relationships and various forms of intimacy. In ‘’Recreation’’ series I sought to create uncomfortable social situations in supposedly positive and relaxing environments. As part of my BA diploma work, I created a 360-degree VR diorama based on the Sauna scene, which focuses more on how people suffering from Social Anxiety Disorder might perceive their surroundings. The crowded sauna cabin with no exit door, the static camera and perspective distortion that come with this technique, and the gossiping people are meant to show the viewer how it feels when anxiety kicks in. I felt it was important to discuss this because people with this condition are frequently misunderstood and labeled as cold, phlegmatic, pompous, shy, unfriendly, or simply negative because they cannot always behave in such situations as expected – positively and fully involved (like I could not for a long time). Primarily, this work tends to function as a self-reflection on my own experiences while also possibly helping others to recognize their symptoms or in general could provide a better understanding of the way SAD works.

Are there any particular relationships between the characters in your artworks creating relationships between family, friends or colleagues?

My upcoming project focuses on intimate relationships, whereas the “Recreation” illustrations express a general sense of alienation. It will be an immersive video installation comprised of short animation segments that portray, among other things, how early family bonds affect our current relationships and partnerships, as well as how they are portrayed in mass and social media.

How would you describe your drawing style? Who or what is your biggest inspiration?

I must say my drawing style is quite messy as I always tend to create raw, intuitive images that embrace the process’s flaws and imperfections.

In the “Recreation” images I depict people as a cohesive and grotesque crowd. They are frequently cut off from the composition, which adds an unpleasant feeling to the images. I drew most of these characters without arms, as a symbol of inhospitality (the inability to give, touch, or caress). This is a common symbol in many of my works. Human bodies are often shown fragmented, distorted, and imperfect. Even when presented in company, it distances and alienates my characters as they lack the basic abilities to reach out for intimacy and warmth.

Though it is difficult to single out one artist or movement that has most influenced me, I have always admired art movements such as Jean Dubuffet’s art brut or the CoBrA movement, which ones emphasized the importance of “genuine expression.” If I had to pick one artist, it would be Gyorgy Kovasznai, a brilliant Hungarian animator. I rewatched many of his painting animations for inspiration while working on my new project with the animation segments.

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Bio

István Hutter is a visual artist from Hungary living in The Hague. He has a stable background in animation and illustration. Currently, he is enrolled in the MA Fine Arts program at The HKU University of the Arts Utrecht. The majority of his work has a strong storytelling bent and seeks to disrupt established narrative structures. Dream imagery, dark humour and symbolism are prominent elements of his visual style.

Credits

Illustration / István Hutter @coliflowerpie

https://ihutter.com/

Interview / Markéta Kosinová @__maarketa__

VIDEO

Animation design / Istvan Hutter

Sound / Bonka Borisova, Viki Nagy, Istvan Hutter

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