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Keserü, Ilona
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At the beginning of the eighties I became interested in an optical phenomenon, the world of afterimages. I mean the vision that flashes behind the eyelid, the very intensive, secondary inner image in light-colours, an image of a dark and light, light-shadow phenomenon previously observed intently. Research in this phenomenon is in effect a simple nature study, with constant, concrete inspirations.

I had previously devoted much attention to the pure colours of refracted light, the greatest possible intensity of colour attainable by mixing paint. It was exploring their patterns that I noticed the vision behind the eyelid, which has ever since been one of my most intensive experiences of colour. It is actually always different, depending on what evokes it from the sight without. But it changes even after I close my eyes, keeps moving in two senses as well: it floats upwards slowly, and its colours transform. Which means a moving medium is required for its representation, not in the least because light-colours belong to a colour scale that’s different from what we perceive in nature and what can be mixed from pigments. Its closest relatives are the bright light-colours of sun-lit stained-glass windows and those on a computer screen. Afterimages are moving, swarming, floating, luminous, active processes. All of which is at the same time reality that exists. It is uncertain whether it can be grasped, objectified.

I find painting afterimages, just as modelling processes of the brain with computers, exciting because it is probably a sensual experience everyone’s familiar with. The same way as we sometimes “see stars” when knocked on the head (which stars I incidentally think are cobalt blue), or as our ear “rings” every now and then. At the same time, it would be difficult to prove whether we see things the same way, just as it is hard to ascertain what the differences are and what causes them.

What I’m intrigued by is the possibility of connecting the IMAGE and the AFTERIMAGE, as it dissolves the importance of the “theme”: anything can be the subject of inquiry, the human body, an object, a detail of a landscape, etc. The subject and boiling point of the observation and the inquiry is the question: is it possible to give a valid representation to highly intensive inner and outer visual processes by the combined means of painting and computing technology?

Ilona Keserü, 2002

C3 Center for Culture and Communication