Nina Czegledy: Art around the world

irene caselli

New media artist Nina Czegledy will have a research association with Fine Arts for at least the next five years.

Photo by marc losier

Nina Czegledy is a new adjunct professor in Studio Arts. She works in new media across cultures and disciplines.

As a curator, she collaborates with artists in Canada and abroad to organize travelling exhibitions. A biologist by training, she is particularly interested in developing links between science and the arts.

Her exhibitions have been displayed in galleries in over 25 countries across Europe and North America, and in Brazil and China.

Résonance, which she curated with Louise Provencher, explores the effects of electromagnetism on the human body through the responses of several Canadian artists. The exhibition started at Montreal’s Oboro Gallery last April, and has toured Germany and Spain.

Her projects are modular; each has a stable core but the details change in each country. Local curators adapt the works and make the exhibitions bilingual.

“I don’t want English to become a colonizing language,” she explained. “These are two-way exchanges.”

The Hungarian-born professor spends a lot of time on the road. Although Toronto is her home base, she will be available to her students here.

She says that humility and respect are fundamental to working successfully with other cultures. “Coming from such a small country, I know how to be humble,” she said during an interview before the lecture.

She likes working with Eastern European partners because media art is not developed there and her projects play a pioneering role.

In Albania, for example, she collaborates with the Lindart cultural centre. In 2002, eight women who were studying visual arts in Tirana were given the chance to learn how to use computers and navigate the Internet. Their training resulted in a bilingual website that displayed personal stories by each student.

During a lecture she gave Feb. 14, Czegledy stressed the importance of education and research for the development of media art. She said Concordia, thanks to platforms like the Hexagram institute, has created spaces for research and interaction between artists that are indispensable features of media art production.

“Media art doesn’t happen when people sit in front of their own computers working on their own projects. It needs a high level of interaction,” she said.

“We live surrounded by technology and it is only natural for artists to use that technology to create their works,” she said. “It is as natural as landscape painting in our era. Sooner or later it will be recognized as such.”