Melting Sugar, An interview with Llona Nemeth
My research with Arts Cabinet will be centred on small scale exchanges with artists around the history of sugar production, as a mean to explore post-colonial issues more widely, and the impact this raw material has had on displacing populations, forcing migrations of people for trade purposes, converting consumers into addiction…
In 2019, I met Ilona Németh at the occasion of a lecture she gave at UCL – University College London, at the Institute of Advanced Studies. I was very impressed by the way she had been conducting her research on Sugar based on the reality and proximity of her contemporaries. Her pedagogy skills for sharing that story which concerns European policy made me curious because it breaks the usual North/South expected narrative through which Sugar is mostly associated with.
Ilona Németh is a conceptual artist, a Professor, and one of the most prominent figures of the Slovak art scene. In recent years, she has undertaken to explore a rather peculiar topic: the manufacturing of sugar in Slovakia. The first result of her research was her exhibition at the Kunsthalle Bratislava entitled Eastern Sugar, in 2018. Her hope was that there would be interest to build a new industrial memorial, a chimney from Pohronský Ruskov and a museum of sugar manufacturing, in cooperation with Šurany Urban Museum and with the support of the currently functional sugar factories.