If ever I need a dramatic rise in blood pressure, I take myself to the Párizsi Nagy Áruház on Andrássy. I go upstairs to the café and sit and wait. And wait. And wait. The service is atrocious.
When I’ve been hopping up and down like a hen on a hot griddle for minutes on end, getting my feathers in a flap, someone might deign to take an order – or might not. When it comes to paying, the same thing. They tell me I’m being impatient. Can’t I see that they are busy. I tell them that if they paid attention to their customers and worked the room, everyone would be happy. Multi-tasking. It’s all about multi-tasking. Being aware. Taking notice. Making bloody eye contact. They irritate me and I know I irritate them. And yet I keep going back because it is so stunningly beautiful.
This time though, I ventured up to the second floor. To the new art gallery. It’s chock full of Hungarian art – with some really interesting pieces. Furniture covered in cartoon strips really took my fancy and gave me pause to briefly consider moving flat to accommodate them. The walls are covered in paintings, pastels, watercolours, oils… all by Hungarian artists (one of them has my name on it – subject to measurement).
But the piece de resistance is the secret room. The curator invited us in to a special viewing. Four paintings on one wall, five on another. All by Hungarian artist Kö Ferenc. We looked at the four and paid attention as she told us to. We looked and saw. And then she changed the light to UV and we were somewhere else entirely, looking at something else entirely. Simply amazing. And then it was dark and everything was different again.
Hungarian artist and theorist György Kepes, in his essays in Language of Vision (1944) describes light as a ‘creative medium’, capable of creating ‘a fresh sense of space’. Kö Ferenc, goes beyond this again. I’d have given my last forint and sworn that it was nothing more than a broken mirror.
Stop by. Check it out. And then tell me you weren’t impressed.