Sári Ember / EM CASA


2.9. – 24.9. 2015

Sári Ember / EM CASA



Sári Ember often deals with the personal past, the past of communities and the situation of the individual in these communities. Through her still life-like pictures of people and objects she grasps the complex identity of those who are on the move, and examines the notion of home, belonging, and heritage reflected in the ever changing setting of our everyday life. She is attracted to fragile systems and constellations, balancing on the boarders of ephemeral and dateless.

Sári spent the last two years in São Paulo, staying as a guest in the house of her parent’s friend Alinka, a Hungarian immigrant of 1956. She had the unique opportunity to take part in the life of a house – which is not her natural home – for such a long time, and observe it from inside.

In her series Em casa („At home”, meaning at the same time  „In the house” – in portuguese) she captured the inner life of the house by portraying its components. This ink-drawn inventory of the Hungarian-Brazilian home evokes family memories and reveals the added value of apparently worthless things, posing the question: what was passed down to us, and what is going to remain after we are gone.

„The house is on the inner edge of the periphery, with a little lush garden. For Brazilians it appears to be very European, to me it seems to be quite Brazilian too. I became part of the house, some things change with me naturally, I take part in the system and ‘rules’ of the house, which are mostly defined by Alinka, and also a little by the others who live or have lived there. I am observing the system, the order and disorder of the house, its changes, habits, objects. It has its own measure of time, circles defined by the people, weather, fruits ripening, objects falling apart and being repaired. I realize and admire that every single home is such a unique unit which can be defined through its objects – and still sharing every single element with many other homes.” /Sári Ember/

Following photographs of the daily use of the house, she continued with ink drawings (exhibited in Galerie Klubovna) depicting blurred articles. These „transitory objects” are moving between two countries, past and present, house and garden, and are in an in-between state of organic and non-organic. The collecting and conserving of seeds, sprigs, fallen leaves and fruits are connected to both cultures, as some varieties are coming from Hungary and cultivated or consumed in Brazil as rarities (like paprika, tulips or dill), but at the same time mandarins, lemons, coffee beans are also appearing. The attempt of transplantation, to carry something accross physical and symbolical borders, and the aspiration to create something new from the fallen one is sensible. The dried plants or the empty shell of a fruit eaten by ants, are simultaneously reminders of decay and the desire to preserve at least some parts or traces of the gone-by, although their former essence has disappeared, and now they represent a new quality.

Heavy objects starts to float, being dissolved to silhouettes, inside with a whirling content similar to reflecting water or marbles. The metamorphoses of the depicted elements (in some cases even their indefinability) resembles also how memory works. The abundance of the objects is eye-catching: the logic to keep things, not to throw them away just because „later it could be good for something” is in a way very Central European. The relation towards objects, the pure quantity of the surrounding things is very different in the two cultures and the amount of empty jars, the collection of jugs and plates is pointing to how one treats the space, or how one needs to fill it.

Anna Juhász

Sári Ember *1985, São Paulo

Sári grew up in Budapest, currently she is living and working between São Paulo and Budapest.  She studied photography at the Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design in Budapest, and “Laboratory of Movement Studies” at the École du Théâtre Jaques Lecoq in Paris.