Category Archives: Exhibitions

Anna Landa

Anna Landa

Artist’s site:

Interview with Anna:

You have a concurrent show at The Growlery. How does the body of work there relate to The Fear at Savernack Street, and would you suggest visitors see one before the other?

There’s no specific need for one show to be seen before the other. More recently I’ve begun experimenting with creating projects across a variety of mediums, and ’The Fear’ was my initial crossover into sound and installation work.  The Growlery show will include two installations (one interactive, the other site-specific), and two large-scale photographs. Though visually diverse, these pieces and the work at Savernack Street are unified by the underlying concepts I’m attempting to communicate.

How/why did you record your own heartbeat for The Fear?

The project is an intimate reflection of my personal struggles with the concept of nonexistence, hence my own heartbeat. I was also excited by the idea of abstractly digitizing my existence — what if my online presence out-lives my physical being?  It’s not essential that a viewer realize it’s my heartbeat, perhaps even detrimental. Each person will engage with the work in his/her own particular way, and I don’t want to impose my perspective more than necessary.

Why the palm/ tarot readers at the opening? 

I want there to be another point of interaction, in part to offset the heavier premise of the sound piece. In this way, I hope to offer an alternative perspective to my more stark approach and to incite a conversation around the various points of view regarding mortality.

How does the geographic location of your birthplace inform your art practice? 

I hadn’t realized until my mid-twenties just how heavily influenced I was by my family’s experience of living in the Soviet Union. We immigrated to the United States when I was young, but I was raised with and still carry the overwhelming anxiety that I mistook for an ordinary state of existence growing up. This weight has and continues to shape me as I become more aware of certain nuances in my behavior. Investigating the similarities and differences between myself and the people around me—really getting into the meat of it—has never ceased to fascinate me.

Can you tell us something about your art process in general?

It’s continuously shifting, and I let it take its own course without attempting to rein it in to a particular style or format. I feel strongly about not repeating myself and work toward uncovering a new process, skill, or idea even if it results in failure.

You proposed this piece to Savernack Street unsolicited and spoke of being inspired by the site. What about that first encounter triggered you to make work specifically for this gallery?

I immediately fell in love with the format — I thought ‘what a brilliant idea!’. And not solely as a clever commentary on the lack of affordable art spaces in the city, but as a unique platform that set specific constraints within which to create work. It’s the limitations that drive (force, even) creative thinking and my favorite conditions to work under.

Elisabeth Ajtay


Artist website:

Interview with Elisabeth Ajtay:

Talk about the process of making the piece moonABC.

My work is a result of sometimes months-long considerations of digging and letting go.
The idea of creating a moon alphabet started somewhere in 2014 with me sitting on the stairs in front of my house, finding calm in the ever-present light of the moon. I was working on my artist visa in order to stay in the US, and felt tied down with no status, no existence – practically being an alien resident on hold. So I had plenty of time thinking about how I could push my work with the moon further, in terms of overcoming that which is visible. The moon has been exposed and explored to numerous artistic expressions and scientific ones. I did not mean to repeat but to expand. Also, having been working for almost 20 years with a camera, there are moments when I am tired of the medium. I began making art with my hands first, drawing, painting and even dancing and for many years I would consider myself a very physically-based artist. Making images with a camera is very different, the body is less involved, instead, a lot of editing and thinking, once the “click” happened. One night I simply grabbed my camera and began tracing the light. First randomly, then more purposefully, with the intention of putting my body into the image. Movements.

I wrote my initials and from there, I began practicing letters. Realizing I was creating a “moon font,” I took the time to work towards a complete alphabet during each cycle when the full moon returned, and to train my hand towards as much perfection as my body was able to offer. During these two years, I was reading numerous books on communication and technology. The points that fascinated me outlined how technology alters our brains, our level of empathy, and how we change our social patterns within society. Those readings were my impetus in exploring my physicality in conversation with nature, or, the physicality of the moon.

On another level, creating an alphabet is to some extent a reflection of my multilingual presence. It is sometimes hard phrasing thoughts when the tongue is moving differently, or you have another language’s rhythm inside you. It can confuse, cause mayonnaise. Having inside and on the outside (history repeats itself).

The phrases that I wrote are notes that I made in my sketchbooks over the past few years. I am not interested in total technical perfection and I have never been. I love mistakes and incidents. I love the imperfection of the human body. I love the beauty of decay.

How does the moon, or other natural elements, factor into your art practice in general?

I grew up in Transylvania. There was a beautiful interview with two designers from Transylvania where they were being asked why their design is so dark and why they use so much warm, natural elements such as wood, they replied that it is part of the landscape of Transylvania. There is a darkness to nature, in terms of richness. The soil is of a nourishing, deep black. The greens are saturated, and everything is more “hefty,” intense. So that is where I grew up and what marked me.

I strongly believe in humans being by far more influenced by the surrounding nature than by abstract concepts such as nations. Back then, I grew up in a dictatorship. When I reached Germany, the West, I had to realize, that people thought we came from the moon. From nowhere. Romania and the entire East was pictured really poorly in Western propaganda.
Eastern Europe was the “new exotic” place to be after the revolutions passed and the borders opened. Growing up without Ken and Barbie but with inventing games and tools with whatever we had allowed me to be happy. The environment was down to earth and people were creative. I grew up with gardening, slaughtering, ballet and the opera. All at the same time. One did not exclude the other. I believe that is where my love for all natural forms/behaviors comes from. That is why I do think about death as something beautiful. And of course because of Baudrillard as well. Life is a cycle  nature. A computer, as much as all other technical  achievements in the Western hemisphere, are part of our  lives, yet  they do not prevent or save us from our mortality. We live in a world that is in a contrast between natural and artificial elements and we learn to grow with it. We have this urge to constantly explore everything. To expand. The moon has been explored and then dumped. Now science is moving beyond the moon, towards the invisible ends of our universe. However, the moon is crucial to the continuation of our existence. If we lost the moon, our planet would lose its balance. Working with the moon is a reflection of the given natural presences that we depend so much upon, yet we take for granted.


Play the audio narration below: