Orshi Drozdik

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Orshi Drozdik
Born Orsolya Drozdik
Abda, Hungary
Movement Conceptual Art, Feminist Art
Individual Mythology III
Individual Mythology IV
Medical Erotic

Orshi Drozdik (born 1946 in Hungary) is a feminist artist based in New York City. Her work consists of series of installations exploring connected themes, sometimes over many years. Her work is undermining the traditional erotic representation of woman and often exposes the hidden social issues in the system. Countering to a wide range of representation of "facts and scientific truth” in the discourse of art-, political-, medical- and science history and exposes contemporary and historic contradictions and discrepancy's. Starting in the 1970s with body art, working with her own body, in the form of performance art extended her critical interest to normative representation of female body as a nude.


Drozdik grew up in Abda and Győr in Hungary. Her mother with her family were living in Pozsony (today Bratislava) in 1945, and were stripped of their citizenship and property by the Beneš decrees without compensation and forced to move. Her father as a middle class intellectual was labeled by the goveremental party as a class enemy and his property was confiscated. In 1956, after her father's death, she decided to be an artist. With her mother support, who raised her alone with two siblings, she started to learn formal drawings and paintings in evening drawing study group.[1]

Drozdik studied art at the Hungarian University of Fine Arts from 1974–77.[2] In the mid seventies she found her own voice by turning against educational and political dictatorial power. From 1975 exhibited in Budapest and worked in association with the "Rozsa" (Roses), a young artists post-conceptual group (1976–78). In 1978 she left Hungary, and in 1980 moved to New York,[2] working in association with artist group Colab in the early 1980s. In the 1980s, she was showing her work extensively in New York also internationally in galleries and museums. She lived with Patrick McGrath, the writer, in Vancouver, Toronto and in New York from 1979 to 1991.[3]

Drozdik has been selected to take part in exhibitions of work from Hungarian artists, for example one of nine artists in "3 by 3 from Hungary" (1996) at the Center for Curatorial Studies, New York.[4] and "The New Arrivals: 8 Contemporary Artists from Hungary" (2011) at the Palais des Beaux-Arts, Brussels.[5]

Her awards include, hu:Munkácsy-díj Munkacsy Mihaly Award, 2003 Kondor Béla Award, Budapest (1976). Prince Bernhard Fonds [3] Award, Amsterdam (1985). New York Foundation for the Arts, New York, USA (1995). Pollock-Krasner Foundation, INC. Grant, USA (1990), Gordon Matta Clark Foundation Award USA, (1990). Fondation Cartier, [4] France (1991) and a Pollock-Krasner Foundation, INC. Grant, USA (1993).


Her works Individual Mythology (1975–77) and Nude model (1977), comprising performance, photography, offset prints and drawings, were exhibited in Budapest. The Pornography (1978) series was completed in Amsterdam, I Try To Be Transparent (1980) performance and the Double (1980) in Toronto.

Her installation series Adventure in Technos Dystopium (1984–1993) deconstructed scientific representations of truth.[6] For this series the artist created a fictional 18th century female scientist called Edith Simpson. Themes she explored were: the romanticisation of disease and the taxonomic formalism of Carolus Linnaeus. From 1989 she used models of her father's brain as part of sculptural installations.[7]

Her installation series entitled Manufacturing the Self (1993–97) is a deconstruction of medical representations of the female body. Her 1993/4 exhibition Medical Erotic, part of the Manufacturing the Self series,[7] featured a cast of the artist's body alongside photographs of a medical wax-work figure and a fictional journal.[8][9] The installation Manufacturing The Self, Brains on High Heels (1992) is a rubber cast of a brain put into a pair of high heels.

In the series of Lipstick Paintings ala Fontana (2002–06) the surface of canvases are punctured with lipstick. The series of digital prints Venuses, Drapery and Bodyfolds (2000–2007)[10] featured fragments of draperies and naked women from the history of painting.


  1. ^ artslant.com, [1],Statement
  2. ^ a b Michèle Kieffer Orshi Drozdik: Deconstructing Gender and the Self, theCulturetrip.com. Retrieved 23 August 2014.
  3. ^ Herbert Mitgang, Weird Tales From an Offbeat Childhood, June 11, 1988
  4. ^ Vivien Raynor International Show Celebrates Diversity, New York Times September 15, 1996
  5. ^ Richard Unwin, The New Arrivals: 8 Contemporary Artists from Hungary, Frieze, April 2011
  6. ^ Katy Kline and Helaine Posner [2] Science Fictions M.I.T. LIST VISUAL ARTS CENTER (Cambridge, MA)1992, ISBN 093-84-37410
  7. ^ a b John C. Welchman, Art After Appropriation: Essays on Art in the 1990s, Routledge, 2001, p112. ISBN 978-90-5701-043-9
  8. ^ Reagan Upshaw, Orshi Drozdik at Tom Cugliani - installation art - New York, New York - Review Of Exhibitions, Art in America, Jan 1994.
  9. ^ Holland Cotter, Art in Review, The New York Times, June 11, 1993.
  10. ^ MUSEUM.HU - Budapest Gallery - The exhibition of Drozdik Orsolya - Venuses: Draperies and Bends of the Body

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