'Svetoslav S. aka Roderich Tuhn was an artist born in Battonya, a small village between the frontiers of Hungary and Romania. His style of painting changed throughout his lifetime for a diverse set of reasons. His subversive inclination regarding art and representation. Drawing his inspiration from various sources, including: media, propaganda [Social Realism] and even cubism, his styles changed rapidly while he used several pseudonyms and fake identities not only because of his radical art-thinking but due to his association with two extreme political ideologies: The Magyar Nemzeti Szocialista Párt [a Hungarian façade for the Nazi party] and the Communist party.'
Svetoslav S. is a fictional character and serves as a platform to question the construction of history, the use of memory and to further the discussion around art, politics and representation.
Text by Xiomara Zúñiga Salas:
The story of the life of Svetoslav S. is built in a space delimited by objects, images and voices. In spite of the attempt to hierarchize the memories, the memory is whimsical, its indecipherable and erratic structure repels any attempt of order. The archive of Svetoslav S. shows that the construction of a story is a product of a point of view, both individually and collectively. In the process, the act of suppressing memories and legitimating others, necessarily produces intentional, consensual, or forgetful silences.
Master, painter, assassin and traveller, the character's pictures show how the image is not enough to frame this life; its language is exhausted: how to translate a blow, the wake of doubt or remorse in a two-dimensional space, into an object, or in sounds? In the inventory of this story, how do we refer to things that cannot be grasped?
Costa Rica, 2017.
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Replica I is as its title demonstrates, a replica of an artwork destroyed in a fire that consumed a great part of this character´s collection of paintings. This replica was made in 2017 and tried to be a reliable translation after a small scale study found in the house of famous Ricardo Friedrich (S.S. Hans Heidrich) in a small region in Argentina´s pampa. Two black and white xerox copies of the original painting were also found.
Phantasmagoria I. was one of the few paintings that were found almost entirely in good condition. It is currently being treated in a professional restoration lab to bring its original red tone to its surface. This painting marks the starting point in Tuhn's avant-garde explorations, which will cost him artistic anonymity.