Collaborative exhibition by Maja Rakočević Cvijanov and Adrienn Újházi at Cultural Center “Dorćol” in Belgrade, Serbia.

I am getting older

and I am waiting to be younger

I know how to do it

you’re getting dizzy

you fall to the floor and see it is getting worse

the sky without end.

Milena Marković, Quick

The origin of the word metabolism – like the origin of so many other words – can be found in the ancient Greek language. Written as μεταβάλλω, it is read metabole and it means change. It is an interesting combination of two words: meta, which means after, behind (but also changed) and ballein, which means to throw. Loosely understood, the word metabole would imply that after (meta) a certain act (ballein) a change occurs, that the reality afterwards cannot be the same as it was before.

Therefore, perhaps the title of the exhibition of Maja Rakočević Cvijanov and Adrienn Újházi should be read somewhat differently: as Sublime Change.

The previous work of these two artists was focused on topics that they explored in depth: for several decades now, Maja Rakočević Cvijanov is dealing with important, universal questions arising from personal life and analyses the points of connection with the social, often pointing out the painful seams of that connection, while Adrienn Újházi creates the exciting world of new materials and explores some of the central questions associated with them,such as the sustainability of modern lifestyles, offering transformation as a necessary experience to exceed established boundaries.

Both artists are now focusing their attention on the experience and the effects of change – a change that seems to have something to do with metabolism, as it is commonly understood, but far more similar to the original meaning of the term. Namely, starting from certain milestones in their lives and bodies, both Maja Rakočević Cvijanov and Adrienn Újházi consider them as the material from which the fabric of art is created and thus they transform what would be just one of a series of female experiences into a general, human experience. Physical changes on the inside and the outside of a woman’s body are only the starting point for the materialization of the process of change and the reason to introduce this new element into the work of art. Thus, for example, the end of the reproductive cycle, in the case of one work (Maja Rakočević Cvijanov, Pelvis/end of reproduction, 2022), i.e. the incentive to research the biological past of one’s own body, in the case of the another work (Adrienn Újházi, Re-generation, 2022/23 ), lead artist to go one step behind (meta) and to explore all the layers that can be reached by following their (altered) body image. Those layers are revealed to us precisely as links between these two artists, but also between their works and the viewer – all the works in this exhibition embody change as the only constant.

Sublime metabolism is actually the need for the most painful confrontation – with oneself, with one’s past and with a changed feeling, not just with the image of the body. Sublimity is contained in the analytical view, in the faithful representation of the findings of that view, in the acceptance of art as a field in which this confrontation is, perhaps, the most possible because art, besides everything, is also an experience of community. The works of Maja Rakočević Cvijanov and Adrienn Újházi, created as a personal need to talk about physical trauma, thus become a platform for connecting with everyone who has ever experienced a change – first in the body, and then in the consciousness. Their works quietly communicate what is rarely spoken. The sublimity of change is precisely in that: in opening  up the space for sharing the most sensitive areas of humanity.

Nela Tonković, Curator

Photography KC “Dorćol”