Attila Szucs‘ recent show of paintings at Erika Deak Gallery focused on planking, the recent social phenomena where people lay stiff as boards in incongruous places. The painter often starts from images from the media or photos and surrounds them with emptiness, here applied to people planking. I don’t think the works convincingly suggest an existentialist vacuum, if that was what Szucs meant to imply, and to me the figures remain ridiculous rather than some kind of metaphysical argument about the place of the individual in the universe. Perhaps the association of planking with humor is just too strong in my mind.
However, his paintings are wonderfully executed. The large canvas of the Hitchcockian blonde, my favorite work in the show, on all fours suggests as much. Her conventional femininity, anachronistic in its hairstyle and clothing, becomes vulnerable, the direct gaze impenetrable. Her shadow double mirrors the outline of the room she occupies.