1966, Budimpešta, Madžarska / Budapest, Hungary
Stretched Chair, 1995
Róza El-Hassan's modifications of objects are not exotic but, rather, Cartesian. She does not make arrangements, nor does she create installations. She situates objects within a Cartesian coordinate system, where she defamiliarises them more geometrico – thus, in a scientific manner. Through a rational geometric operation (stretching), the objects transcend their status as basic objects and are left with a surreal beauty. A scientific operation begets poetry. Positional displacements (comparable to linguistic metonymy) – and not metaphoric analogies – beget a poetry that, the more strangely it works, the more the geometric intervention preserves the unity of the object and, in the process, heightens its identity. Descartes described things as res extensa, as an extension of space in space. El-Hassan extends them more than is customary; she overextends them, and subjugates them to centripetal forces. The objects are extended so far that their object character collapses. The objects become black holes and, out of the geometric grave of the objects there rises up the ease of freedom, the anti-gravitational centripetal force of fantasy. The objects become decentralised and eccentric, and lose their focal point. The basic objects are dynamised through the projected geometric distortion. The res extensa become a dynamic system. Traces of time and acceleration become visible in space. Another dimension – time, velocity – presses upon the objects, which are then thrown into a new sphere, from the sphere of objects into the realm of symbols. Geometric distortion is thus a process of extreme abstraction that forces objects to the brink of their dissolution.