About the origins of the tombstone motifs of Ilona Keserü
This essay aims to shed new light on the oeuvre of the painter Ilona Keserü (born in 1933, Pécs), in colour, motifs and surfaces, and through works that have been forgotten (or become fossilized) in contemporary visual thinking, which are here restored to their original, typically 1960s context. Since then Keserü has always been drawn to emotional and sensual experiences that can be distilled into distinct forms, signifiers, and visual gestures. This undertaking, so deeply ingrained into her character, consumed nearly all of the 1960s, from 1958, when she abandoned figurative work, until 1971, the year of her first large-format spatial form. The process can be followed practically image-to-image as Keserü moves progressively from representation (deeply ingrained in her from her studies), through her progressively more profound immersion in painting that aims to express the inexpressible, to the development of her own abstract language for thinking in images. During her introspective quest that took her to the deepest levels of her self, she used scribbles and gesture drawing to arrive, by 1967, at her dominant tombstone motif that embodies pure painting.