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Budi Scroll

2009

Published by Pratt Gallery, London, England

 

Digital print on paper,  
copper plumming pipes, wooden box
Edition of 20
5.5” x 400”/ 14 x 1290 cm

The scroll format of "Budi" (2008-09) follows the horizontal shape of the Budi Book. From the outhouse library where the scroll begins to the opera stage at the end, we see numerous outhouse species: whether it is an outhouse hunter, or a confessional, an outhouse wind or watermill, outhouse military tanks or heroic statue. Some outhouses simply start to act human. And all the outhouses are connected by the flow of the river, which originated from a concrete outhouse at the beginning of the scroll.

Böröcz got his inspiration from Chinese landscape scrolls and the Bayou Tapestry, which he saw in France. The horizontal format perfectly fits with river landscapes, as the viewer easily follows the water and other travelers on the water. In this “journey” we often see the daily life and activities of the people along the river. The river is the symbol of life. 

At first, the presence of the river seems to be by happenstance, but when the viewer explores more of the drawings, it becomes clear that this scroll is about Central Europe and the imagined river scenes are based on real Danube stories. Böröcz is Hungarian and the Danube River is a phenomenological presence in his life. He crossed it thousands of times in Budapest, his hometown. And, of course, he learnt the history of the Danube. He knows that thousands of Jews were shot by the river in Budapest by Hungarian Nazis in the winter of 1944; that after the war, part of the city of Esztergom became Slovakia, when the Danube become the border between the two Communist countries. As a teenager Böröcz was familiar with the ruins of the Danube Bridge of Esztergom. It was destroyed during the II World War and not restored for over forty years. The Danube is not only a border but it is also one of the main links between cultures in Central Europe.

Besides the flow of the river, which helps the movement between the many absurd outhouse narratives, the element of music also flows through the scenes. Different figures and the outhouses themselves whistle and sing throughout the narrative. Also, a "buzzing" fly shows up regularly, as it is hard to separate flies from outhouses. The flies & their buzzing will die towards the end of the Budi scroll on flypaper located next to a TV set, in the penultimate scene.

Böröcz hand-colored the scroll with watercolor. A digital print edition of the original scroll has been published in 2009 by Pratt Contemporary in Kent, England. This scroll is presented on handles made from copper pipes and rests in a laminated pine & walnut box made by the artist.