Renaming Ilona Keserü

Artwork name: ‘Tombstones N (wrong)’, 1969 Artist: Ilona Keserü

Is anybody actually honest when listing their passions in, let’s say, dating sites or resumés? If I had no filters, my resumé Interests would obviously include art, but also Oreo cakes, Brie cheese, and, in general…food.

That’s probably why the first time I saw this awesome painting by Hungarian painter Ilona Keserü it reminded me of those amazing jello dishes that were so popular during the 60s:

Please check this one out: 



(Under-the-sea salad! With Lime gelatin, pears and…cream cheese?) (Not sure why it’s “under the sea” tough…)

Anyway, I decided this painting could be renamed as Strawberry Mousse Jello Dessert, which is an actual recipe you can follow in this Youtube video I found. Maybe 1 pm is not the best time to be writing about art…

But… Who´s Ilona Keserü, and are her paintings inspired by jello dishes?

Ilona Keserü, born in 1933 in Pécs, is one of Hungary’s leading post-war abstract artists. Keseru´s first solo exhibition in London took place between April and March 2018 at Stephen Friedman Gallery.

As the gallery recalls in their web, her work “expresses power and strength in the face of political and cultural adversity. Pioneering a visual language that explores material, color and the body, Keserü’s use of color and recognizable soft forms draw a comparison to Eva Hesse, Louise Bourgeois, and Judy Chicago.”

And here comes the most interesting part: “In 1967 Keserü discovered the heart-shaped headstones of Balatonudvari cemetery, Hungary. Since then she reproduced this shape many times in drawings, paintings and objects. By inverting and overlaying the motif, Keserü transformed the tombstone into rolling field landscapes and sensuous figurative studies.”

So it turns out the shapes in her paintings are not jello layers but tombstones… who would have guessed? I searched for a picture of Balatonudvari cemetery and it certainly is inspiring:

Apart from turning tombstones into bright, abstract forms, it turns out Keserü has been in a quest to capture the “afterimage”. Afterimages are those images that continue to appear in our vision when we close our eyes.

As Keserü herself explains in this fantastic interview published on, “If we look into the sun or any other strong source of light and then close our eyes, we see one or several glowing patches (…) The afterimages cannot be accurately recreated by using pigments. They are moving, teeming, illusive and luminous processes that are constantly happening. They exist, but I’m not sure that they can be captured or objectified.” Fascinating, isn’t it?

More great works by Keserü:



(Doesn´t this last one remind you of chicken thighs? Ok, I should probably go have lunch now)  






2 respuestas a "Renaming Ilona Keserü"

  1. Such an interesting and pleasant to read blog! I would definitely like to have the opportunity of reading more articles like this. Learning and fun at once.

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