Zsofia Schweger uses art to explore ideas of identity and belonging

The idea of “home” has multiple meanings for all of us: it can mean a physical bricks and mortar presence, a sense of belonging, an itching feeling of nomadic tendencies, or a pang of nostalgia for the past. For Hungarian-born, London-based artist Zsofia Schweger, these ideas around home are complex: she moved from her native Hungary to the US, then the UK, and uses her painting as a platform from which to explore ideas around identity and, as she puts it, “the emigrant experience".

Schweger spent five years in America, and studied at Wellesley College in the Boston area before moving to London and graduating from the prestigious Slade School of Fine Art in 2015, before being selected for Bloomberg New Contemporaries 2016.

Much of her work looks at place, and its impact on us both physically and psychologically. "In my current paintings, I explore the motif of the house by returning to my first home in Hungary," she says. "Here my family lived for 20 years before permanently relocating to London. Now the house looks frozen in time, with most furniture and belongings still in place, waiting for eventual moving or disposal.

"My personal narrative has engendered painterly thinking of absence and presence, stillness and duration, space and flatness, feeling and apathy, cosiness and dread, the private and the social."

Her charming pastel-hued, bright colour palette belies more troubling foundations: they show a bright and cheerful space, but also one from which their creator feels alienated. "My methodical, controlled approach to technique lets up, however, through touch," she says. "My hand trembles where colour blocks meet forming gently wavering lines. I want always to make paintings that are affective and alive."


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