COLUMBA HÁMORA (2015)
clay, acrylic paint, felt-tip pen, antique books (the poems of Pál Gyulai, the poems of József Lévay, Ottó Herman: Birds Useful and Birds Harmful)
Columba Hámora is a study in how politics can shape every notion of human knowledge and representation from ornithology to physiognomy.
Hungarian public life in the 2nd half of the 19th century was defined by the opposition of the Independence Party and those willing to make a compromise with Austria. This cleavage remained notwithstanding that following the Great Compromise of 1867 both parties participated in the parliament.
On a pleasant autumn evening in 1887, Pál Gyulai, a leading man of letters and a peer, spent a night in the picturesque Hámor region, in the cabin of his friend, politician and poet, József Lévay, and memorialized the event, including the cooing wild doves, in a poem. Ottó Herman, an autodidact polymath, major authority in ornithology – and fervent Independence Party politician – protested. The pigeons living there are not wild doves, no one could have heard them cooing – Gyulai is a liar. The press polemic dragged on for years with arguments including certain specificities of pigeonholes, Gyulai’s bias and Herman’s advanced hearing loss. With the dove-shaped map of Hámor and the dove-bodied miniature heroes, Columba Hámora presents a world where everyone and everything appears as a dove.