“Artists Brigitte Szenczi (Budapest, 1943) and Juan Antonio Mañas (Madrid, 1946) use the techniques of realism to represent ‘their world’ with ever expanding borders. They place their detailed figures such as portraits of Brigitte Bardot, Marlene Dietrich, Edward G. Robinson, and fairies glamorously dressed by designer Alexander McQueen, in the middle of mysterious forests, scenes from tales, legends and dreams.
They have been working together since the mid-seventies, “but each one is the author of his/her own pieces” explains Mañas. “Our interaction works very well. In addition, we discovered together the worlds of cinematography and art and many other things, which is quite noticeable” –mentions Szenczi. They have fashioned a joint universe which is crowded with images that they present on their oil paintings, dioramas, and Hollywood embossed pieces as if they were ‘small stages’.
In the exhibition shown at the Sala Parés we can see some of the artefacts from when this artistic couple started in the world of art. They met as teenagers during their family outings to the Los Alfacs camping in Tarragona. They married in Paris and settled in Barcelona in the late seventies, exhibiting always together. Mañas abandoned his studies in Philosophy and enrolled at the School of Arts and Crafts experimenting with various metals and enamels. Brigitte is the daughter of a French mother and a Hungarian father and her childhood was marked by her father being deported by the Russians and, shortly after, his eventual death allegedly due to typhus. Although this background is not explicit in her art-work she emphasises the importance of childhood and memory: “You always go back to the beginning, to your childhood, when everything looks happy; and I place my characters in environments where I would like to be.” She lived in Paris until the age of 26, where she was working as an illustrator for fashion magazines. She worked as a stylist for firms and designer studios in the French capital, Madrid and Terrassa: “I enjoyed illustrating and drawing, it would have been fun working for Vogue or creating illustrations for fashion shows.” Her interest in styling and beautiful clothes is evident in her current creations. ”
Sonia Hernandez, La Vanguardia