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Born in 1959 Zsuzsi Ujj lived and worked in Budapest at a time of political and cultural isolation. Even so, her practice is extremely contemporary, predating many of the tendencies we see in the art world today and resonating with such forward-edge practices as surrealism and performance art.

Ujj was a photographer, a poet-singer, and a member of the fledgling underground art and music scene, which was quite vibrant in Budapest in the 1980s. As such she had roots both in the post-war Hungarian neo-avant-garde, members of which were already active in the 60s and 70s, but also in a younger generation who came of age in the 1980s, and to which she belonged.

The use of her own body put her in dialogue with major feminist figures both inside Hungary and internationally. At the same time Ujj’s work captures a transitional moment when Hungary was opening up to the world, yet the market was still more or less nonexistent and artists maintained their own semi-private networks (a far cry from the art fair circuit and increasingly commercialized 1980s New York art world.) As such Ujj’s works emit a kind of vulnerability and authenticity rarely seen in work emanating from the established art centers of the time.