The nightstand beside hospital beds is beyond doubt a special piece of furniture. This stand, or rather table, together with what is stored on it represents the changed necessities of the patient’s life: things that do not have room on the table do not exist. However, this “table” hardly gets associated with such basic hospital experiences like the coldness of tiles, the flatness of the colors white and green, or the voice of the infusion pole rolling out to the corridor. The nightstands that fill hospital rooms are the manifestations of the effort of the patients, their relatives, and the nurses as they try to reconstruct pieces of the real, outside world in the reduced living space of the hospital: food, books, pocket radios or toilet paper are put beside the patients’ heads. This is how the nightstand becomes a micro universe, a personal object in hospital environment.
This clean, objectified intimacy manifests itself in Ádám Albert’s most recent works in which he visualizes sensations and motives connected to sickness and recovery and puts them in peculiar contexts. Both the material and the design of the group of objects discuss the vulnerability of the human body through the invisibility of sickness: this is how glass becomes a key motive in the exhibition, either in colored or in its original state. Albert already experienced with traditional craftsman techniques in a number of his previous works, and this time he chose glass-blowing that unintentionally associates the fragility of glass to the fragile nature of human body. Similarly, the objects made of metal, tiles and glass remind us of the nightstand or the infusion poles. The glass objects in the shape of neurons or different abstracted, fictionalized organs also reminds us how uncertain our knowledge about our bodies’ operations are, how we try to make it intelligible with the help of metaphors.
The pain of the individual is the pain of the mourner as well: the sense of absence and emptiness creates a clean, lean interior, and at the same time it is Albert’s most personal exhibition to this day. This can be connected to the artist’s loss of his father that materializes in other objects with almost symbolic significance. The wooden trough, strongly connected to the pictures of birth and growing up, is exhibited in putrefied form, held together by a piece of iron, including one of the colored glass objects. The two metal-glass constructions found in the second room, resembling a kind of a discussion, surround a putrefied tree branch that comes from the garden of Albert’s family in Veszprém. Meanwhile, the varied neuron glass shapes put on black tiles, practically creating a network, – although created well before the pandemic – still expand the context of the exhibition to the changed daily life of the last few months. The fear of the unknown, the irrationality of the virus, the danger of infection get reevaluated this way in a highly personal but wider social context in which the main question is the way how pain can be materialized.
photography by Gábor Arion Kudász