In Circulation: Fazekas Valéria

Reflections of Contemporary Designers on the Collection of the Museum of Applied Arts

We launched the series of seasonal exhibitions entitled In Circulation in the Hungarian Museum of Applied Arts’ György Ráth Villa in 2018, with the primary aim of keeping our collections in motion and further developing them. According to our concept, the invited designer will select an object or ensemble of objects from the collection of the Museum of Applied Arts, and will create a new design as inspired by the object(s). The ambition of the exhibition is for the museum to spark a design process which would not have been possible without the selected object(s) selected from the museum’s collections.

Women's accessories - 'salvador' hat portrait of Valéria Fazekas by Proud ProductionsMuseum of Applied Arts, Budapest

The third designer we invited for the series is Valéria Fazekas, milliner living in Budapest.
Valéria Fazekas received her degree in 1987 from the Hungarian Academy of Applied Arts in Budapest. Since completing her studies, she has been a designer of apparel and millinery.

Fazekas’s works are characterised by their pure formal language, their playfulness, humour and creativity. For the In Circulation series, she created easily modifiable forms, leaping out from the static hat-objects, constructed from simple foundations, from round discs, or from a single ribbon. Her works born from inspiration from the Museum are variable bodies.  

Women's accessories - 'sucre' hat, From the collection of: Museum of Applied Arts, Budapest
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Her compositions extend from organic, ethereally malleable, universal forms to more sculptural, statue-like, fine art objects. What is most special about hats is that they are capable of transforming the personality of their wearer according to how they are attached to the body.  

Women's accessories - 'la paz' hat, Veléria Fazekas, 2019, From the collection of: Museum of Applied Arts, Budapest
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Characteristic of her hats that traverse the borderline between design and fine art are their continuous permutability deriving from how they are worn, the playfulness of their material and form, and also their balance of shift in scale between their spatial dimensions.

Vase, From the collection of: Museum of Applied Arts, Budapest
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Ornamental vessel, with crawl glaze (so-called tiger glaze), From the collection of: Museum of Applied Arts, Budapest
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 Upon receiving the invitation from the museum, the designer selected an ornamental vessel from the Zsolnay Factory and another from the Drasche Factory, from the collection numbering over 100,000 pieces.  

Ornamental vessel, with crawl glaze (so-called tiger glaze)Museum of Applied Arts, Budapest

Ornamental vessel with crawl glaze

The form of the Zsolnay vessel produced circa 1890, starting with a base of an orb, continuing with tubular handles, and finishing with a cylindrical neck, and covered with a sculptural coarse glaze, bears ancient features.  Such water-storing gourds were already used in the northern Peruvian Moche Empire in the I. millennium B.C., while at the same time, we are acquainted with countless contemporary versions.  

In the course of her selection, important to the designer was the trajectory of the form across eras, and the knowledge that this ancient basic form, valid through to the present day, carries within it.  

Ornamental vessel, with crawl glaze (so-called tiger glaze) detail - Ornamental vessel with crawl glazeMuseum of Applied Arts, Budapest

This vase sent the designer into four different directions...  

Women's accessories - 'lima' hat, Veléria Fazekas, 2019, From the collection of: Museum of Applied Arts, Budapest
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Women's accessories - 'santa cruz' hat, Veléria Fazekas, 2019, From the collection of: Museum of Applied Arts, Budapest
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Women's accessories - 'cuzco' hat, From the collection of: Museum of Applied Arts, Budapest
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In the first case, hats were created as if the upper half of the vase reflected downwards with ribbon arcs. These hats are built up from a single ribbon; their complexity derives from the folding and stitching techniques.  Certain aspects of the objects are reminiscent of graphics depicting the female head.    

Women's accessories - 'salvador' hat Women's accessories - 'salvador' hat, Valéria Fazekas, 2019, From the collection of: Museum of Applied Arts, Budapest
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Women's accessories - 'mandus' hat, Veléria Fazekas, 2019, From the collection of: Museum of Applied Arts, Budapest
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Women's accessories - 'maringa' hat, Veléria Fazekas, 2019, From the collection of: Museum of Applied Arts, Budapest
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In the second case, the two spherical forms are placed one above the other; thus, the same reflection from below also occurs from above, from various angles and viewpoints. In one, the upper form is slightly translucent, in another it is scarlet. These pieces are extremely playful: it is as if the head wearing the hat were to be vertically doubled by way of the upper element.  

Women's accessories - 'la pampa' hat, Veléria Fazekas, 2019, From the collection of: Museum of Applied Arts, Budapest
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Women's accessories - 'rio negro' hat Women's accessories - 'rio negro' hat, Valéria Fazekas, 2019, From the collection of: Museum of Applied Arts, Budapest
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...and in a third it is an enlarged form which can be modulated. The element that inspired the third direction was the attachment of the ears of the vase to its mouth. In this case, the base of the hat is provided by two circular discs – not for the first time in Fazekas’s oeuvre – but this time she started and finished the stitching of the hat in different places, which offered her the possibility for countless versions to experiment with.  

Women's accessories - 'rio negro' hat by Proud ProductionsMuseum of Applied Arts, Budapest

'rio negro' hat

The ribbons are sometimes reminiscent of tongues sticking out of mouths, but at the same time, there is a kind of raffish elegance that is discernible in these pieces.  

Women's accessories - 'rio negro' hat by Proud ProductionsMuseum of Applied Arts, Budapest

These hats are made of cotton and straw, and when they are rotated just a few degrees on one’s head,  

Women's accessories - 'rio negro' hat by Proud ProductionsMuseum of Applied Arts, Budapest

such radically different versions are created that it is as if each were a completely different hat.  

Women's accessories - 'rio negro' hat by Proud ProductionsMuseum of Applied Arts, Budapest

In one case, half of the face is obscured, but the eye is visible through an opening.  

Women's accessories - 'santa fe' hat, Veléria Fazekas, 2019, From the collection of: Museum of Applied Arts, Budapest
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The point of departure for the fourth grouping was likewise just one element of the vase: by tripling the solution for attaching the ears to the vase, an extremely wearable hat was created – if slightly less variable than the others – in which the ribbons came together at the peak. 

VaseMuseum of Applied Arts, Budapest

Vase

The other vase was produced in the Drasche -factory circa 1910. 

It is coated in metallic lustre glaze, and a tall truncated cone-shaped neck is attached to its hemispheric body.
It was primarily the double outline of this piece that captivated the designer, as both the outer and inner contours are traced definitively.
Two ears formed from thick sheets of clay arc from the lower curvature of the globe to the mouth.  

VaseMuseum of Applied Arts, Budapest

Prior to the acid-etching of the base glaze, a partial protective coating was provided, and this allowed for the shiny outlines around the mouth and on the matte surface of the ears, the vertical line patterns traced in gold on the neck and body of the vase.  

Women's accessories - 'in-in' hat (2019) by Veléria FazekasMuseum of Applied Arts, Budapest

'in-in' hat

It inspired the genesis of such “vase within the vase” transparent hats, which can be turned into each other,  and due to the transparency of the material, a smaller hat can appear within a larger one.

Women's accessories - 'ben-ben' hatMuseum of Applied Arts, Budapest

'ben-ben' hat

They can excellently exemplify what sorts of extreme points can come from the multiplication of an idea all the way through to its form in itself,  

Women's accessories - 'ben-ben' hatMuseum of Applied Arts, Budapest

when we can rather speak of an object, as what was earlier on one’s head has become almost a sculpture.  

Women's accessories - 'soive' hat (2019) by Veléria FazekasMuseum of Applied Arts, Budapest

'soive' hat

The Drasche vase also served as a point of departure in the creation of a hat that was constructed from just a single element. Such is the large-brimmed hat – almost like a big skirt – that can change form with just a little pinch.  

Women's accessories - 'cuzco' hatMuseum of Applied Arts, Budapest

Valéria Fazekas produced series around a theme, whose individual pieces allow one to visually follow how just with a small change each form can move in a completely different direction, and then become the starting point for new processes. 

Credits: Story

by Judit Horváth, PhD; Melinda Farkasdy; Rita Komporday 
Sarolta Sztankovics (ed.)

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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