Cseke Zsuzsanna Ilona


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"The new work of Hungarian-born artist, Cseke Zsuzsanna, is a departure from the work she been creating for over a decade. Known in European venues primarily for her abstract painting, her new body of work takes a decidedly representational, historical, activist, if still poetic turn."


Letter from a (remote) friend,

   Your picture on your site reminded me of the Hungarian woman I knew years ago in Vermont-Amherst and on the Duna quay: stern, beautiful, unsmiling, searching. She’s driven, it seems, less by success (in the American sense) than unlocking the secrets of life deep-rooted in her culture and faith. I learned, from the web, that after more than a decade of artistic experimentation that began in Budapest, this primal source has surfaced in her latest works as a New York-based artist. She is wary of the prophecies of our hi-tech, information age culture, whose marvels have numbed our character, spirit, and psyches. Yet she has turned from both traditional media and abstraction to computer art in order to recapture, symbolically and in representational form, the folkways of her Hungarian culture.

   Most of her digital compositions are a conjoining of images to a background of towns and villages, usually set against a natural backdrop, finely patterned embroidery, or colorful symbolic imagery, to render a sense of place (the place name duly recorded at the bottom of the work). In the foreground, I see traditionally attired people express their particular ways of life -- self-understandings of their existence -- through music-making, dance, weddings, feasts, parades, funerals, jousting and other games, and just plain being who they are as they are. These deeply-rooted, authentic worlds of human being have since the 20th century been under threat, if not shattered, by economic (now called globalization) forces and, in many neighboring countries habouring large Hungarian minorities, by subtle and not so subtle forms of ethnic cleansing and forced assimilation, anti-Hungarian incidents occur almost on a daily basis..

   Nostalgia for a more meaningfully lived past, real or imagined, is not the only or main issue here, but rather, I detect a restless tension to create a better, more redemptive world for the world she knows best and seeks to manifest as an artist, the Hungarian. The use of new communications media, including her method for publishing this book, is a plainly a device over which she has control, suggesting that there are still some among us who are strong enough in this effortless era to want to move people to move mountains of a different order.

   May your wistful yearnings come true,

Peter Gyallay - Pap

   "In the course of the struggle for existence, there comes a period when it becomes very important for a nation to be aware of her own origin, her past, her accomplishments and her mission. What others know of her is also of vital importance because they may be in the position to form the future of this nation. If a power intends to intervene in the life of another nation, for the purpose of exploitation and territorial gain, it first ruins its image and then is able to enslave it." (Ida Bobula)
   "The Magyar language stands afar off and alone. The study of other tongues will be found of exceedingly little use towards its right understanding. It is molded in a form essentially its own, and its construction and composition may be safely referred to an epoch when most of the living tongues of Europe either had no existence, or no influence on the Hungarian region.
    "Originating in an age too remote to be defined or even discovered, and receiving from time to time infusions-from the various tribes and tongues who have visited or been visited by the Magyar race, it has yet retained all its essential peculiarities, and offers to the inquirer some of the most curious topics of research.
    "The roots of the Magyar are for the most part exceedingly simple and monosyllabic, but their ramifications are numerous, consistent, and beautiful. I know of no language which presents such a variety of elementary stamina, and none which lends itself so easily and gracefully to all the modifications growing out of its simple principles."
     This was written by Sir John Bowring (1792-1872), an English philologist who spoke many ( about 100) languages, one of them Hungarian. He translated many Hungarian poems into English and issued a literary chrestomathy. R. Nisbet Bain, a linguist from the British Museum, noted that the Hungarian language is "a miracle of word formation". Ebersberg, an Austrian linguist, says that the Hungarian language is so perfect that it is as if it were created by a congress of linguists to serve conciseness, smoothness, harmony and clarity of expression. Jakob L.K.Grimm, a German linguist, (1785-1863), recommended that Hungarian be adopted as an international language.
   "… the Carpathian Basin was not populated by Slavs at the time of the Magyar Conquest, that the Magyars found there a people related to them, and that their "conquest" was in truth a "homecoming". In fact, the people who inhabited the Carpathian Basin were autochthonous to the territory and had lived there for millennia. Some of them migrated from the area when conditions forced them out, and they returned when the time was right.
     The Carpathian Basin is geographically ideal for settlement. It is a large plain surrounded by mountains and well watered by mountain streams and rivers. It is a territory with natural defenses, accessed through only a few mountain passes. In my discussions of this territory, when recording archeological excavations and settlements, I continue to use the term Carpathian Basin rather than the names of individual countries in this area, unless it is absolutely necessary, because their boundaries are artificial. They were established in 1920, at the Treaty of Trianon, and are continually undergoing change.
     The history of Hungary was written by the West. History is usually written by the victors. Hungarian history, as the West knows it, was written by the enemies of the Hungarians, by those who conquered them and who wished to keep them under their dominance. Hungary has been occupied by various nations in the past, the Austrians, the Turks and, most recently, the Soviets. The version of Hungarian history written by western historians has been reproduced for centuries and is even taught in Hungarian schools as "Hungarian history". At the time that these historians were writing, they did not have the knowledge available to us today through the auxiliary sciences of archeology, anthropology and linguistics."(Botos László)
    "The Hungarians, who call themselves Magyar, have an ancient traditional pre-Christian account of their origins according to which they were the descendents of Nimrod (also spelled as Nimrud), son of Cush; Nimrod and Eneth had two sons, Magor and Hunor; Magor was the ancestor of the Magyars, and Hunor was the ancestor of the Huns, thus symbolizing the common origins of the Huns and of the Magyars. Ancient Byzantine sources mention that the Magyars were also known as the Sabirs who originated from Northern Mesopotamia, which was referred to as Subir-ki by the Sumerians who also originated from this land. Numerous other ancient and medieval sources also refer to the Scythians, Huns, Avars, Medas, Sakas, Kushites, Elamites, Parthians, and Magyars as identical people.
   Independently from the various political regimes which have ruled over Hungary and which have imposed the current official version of the origins and history of the Hungarians, modern scientific and scholarly research has confirmed the Sumerian - Scythian - Hun - Avar  - Saka - Meda - Elamite - Kushite - Parthian - Magyar ethno-linguistic relationship and continuity.

   “…it is quite possible that the Sumerians came from the Carpathian Basin and the Balkans in a similar manner. The linguistic parallels cited by Mr. Botos are impressive. The Tartarian tablets have sadly been ignored by archeologists in the West.”(John E. Dayton, London University Institute of Archeology)
"After the last Ice Age, approximately 8-9000 years ago, our ancestors developed a pictographic method for people who did not yet read, on our planet. Researchers call these -- in connection with the Tatárlaka find -- Sumerian pictographs. This is inaccurate because we know that the pictographs found in Mesopotamia are younger than the ones in the Carpathian Basin, so it is more accurate to call them Carpathian Basin pictographs. The ancestors of the Hungarians created the variations of letters and modes of writing with fantastic ingenuity and then, with great unselfishness, gave them away, with surely no little difficulties. Each alphabet that was given away contained more or less elements of the 30 or 32 letter alphabet of the Carpathian Basin and this refers to their origin. But the full model comes together only within the Magyar Runic Script and the sound values attached to the characters. This we call today the Székely-Magyar Runic Script. This is an important proof of the fact that our Magyar ancestors always lived here in the Carpathian Basin from times immemorial and it is, for this reason, that we can call this writing: Our Letter of Ownership to the Carpathian Basin.  That the Magyar is the oldest language of the world was already proposed in the 19th century by the historian, and philologist Professor István Horváth  and by Mihály Táncsis politician and writer. …I collected approximately fifty interpretations of the Tatárlaka find.  With the exception of two or three of these, they add valuable thoughts toward lifting the fog of the past. However, I cannot align myself with any of these theories, since most of the researchers examined the disk, apart from its natural environment, as an independent object and not as a part of a 7-8000 year-old burial. Only a few researchers have connected it to the other two tablets and even fewer to the person of our ancestor in that grave.  The grave and, within it, the earthly remains of our Hungarian ancestor and his/her objects form a holy unity, according to the ancient ritual of that funeral. If we take this object out of its environment and express our opinion, independently of the other objects, thus disturbing this holy unity, then the order is disrupted and a mistaken or fragmented message reaches us, instead of the true message, which the community, which loved our Ancient Mother Goddess, sent on the road of rebirth.
    At the time when the tablets were made, 7-8000 years ago, the ancestors of the Hungarians in the Carpathian Basin were the only people on Earth who were able to read and write.  We cannot know for sure through how many Ice-Ages and natural catastrophies our ancestors preserved this writing, throughout the many tens or hundreds of thousands of years. However, it is certain that this is a perfect collection of letters, which correspond to every sound of the Hungarian language and it is easily learned.  It can also be written onto any kind of material, under any circumstances.(Klara Friedrich)

The following artworks are all computer composits on paper, they are untitled, and their dimensions are 11'x81/2’   except a few smaller ones.