The paintings of Ida Szigethy have been with me for a very long time,more precisely since the early 70s, when one of her oils served as the cover illustration of my children's book “Ida – und Ob” . Subsequent to that, I found myself in one of her paintings, traveling in a train, with our dog and a marvelous kilim that Ida had brought back from Tunisia.
What fascinated me at that time in her paintings, was the lightness, so as not to say the courage, with which Ida Szigethy assembled and juxtaposed the things of this world. As if pulled out of their original milieus, her subjects lost their everyday banality to become important, without, however, seeming grave. And these subjects begin to tell stories about the beauty of the origin and multiplicity of the appearances in which so many shadows and enigmas have left their trace.
An there were, obviously, the colors, those colors that drew my eye and delighted my heart. Especially when I would squeeze my eyes nearly shut to the extent that my lashes covered them almost entirely, so that the contours dissipated, they produced a strong feeling of sympathy with all of the things and all of the forms that had found a way to co-exist through Ida's painting. It was as if those objects had always been together, except that up to that time nobody had been aware of it.
Who would have believed that a solitary Philodendon leaf, such as one finds in many offices, usually covered with dust, could find itself again in the Tropics, protecting and giving shade to three artists as different as Frida Kahlo, Dora Maar and Madonna? Without mentioning the tiger, the chameleon, the parrot, the red frogs, the hummingbirds, the ladybugs and the butterflies luxuriating on or under the same leaf? Elsewhere the crest of a cockatoo stands out against a volcano that is beginning to smoke, while its tail points to the back of a Buddha enthroned above rice fields.
On another canvas, I recognize old Cernunnus, that celtic god with his helmet of horns, but this time of ferns, a helmet of ferns behind which the moon is rising. Cernunnus himself is dancing in his coat of lichens on a carpet of red-hot moss, on which are raining flakes of gold. This could be one of numerous possible interpretations that allow themselves to be deciphered from this painting. Another would be to speak of the grottos formed by his sleeves, of the second moon, as well as a night embroidered with gold.
And again one comes back to the co-existence of disparate objects, that create a new dimension, as if they had been placed in the painting – perhaps a zodiacal sign? by a magic wand, and bear witness thus to the unity of the world, as the mystics of all religions have always ordained. Barbara Frischmuth, novelist Altaussee 2005