Anna Mark (b. 1928) left Hungary after the 1956 Revolution was crushed. With Paris as her intended destination, she sojourned in Saarbrücken due to her husband’s work. After waiting two years, she continued to Paris alone. She has always been active as an artist, even as a wife and mother. Despite exhibiting continuously in France since 1964, the versatility of her oeuvre still awaits discovery. The graceful, natural painterliness of contemporary international art influenced her profoundly. Her figural, surrealistic paintings, inspired by wartime persecution and the Kafkaesque world of 1950s communist Hungary, gradually gave way to lyrical abstraction.
At Frieze Masters 2023, Kisterem presents a key period in her career (1969–1980), when her experimentations led her to the relief form and her own instinctive path. These early works have been shown only once before, back in the 1970s. Mark’s reliefs balance between sculpture and painting, wrestling with material and dimensions. Her works reflect strength and fragility; their richly detailed surfaces convey endless sensual impulses, and occasionally creative humour. Her abstract motifs are rooted in the diverse folk art, music, and architecture of Eastern Europe. One characteristic motif, the carpentered marriage chest, symbolises the artist’s twin loyalties, settled in her new home, but never forgetting her origins.
Booth no. S05
photography by Mádhava Bence Kalmár