Dobranyi & Hegyi Foundation
(former Ildiko Dobranyi Foundation)


The Web of Time. In memory of Ibolya Hegyi DLA

She could have been anything, art historian, theoretical person, university professor, she had the affinity and capability, but as it turned out, she wanted to be a tapestry artist. As she mentioned it, she fell in love with this challenging genre at first sight and she made it with as much expertise as her 17th century classic predecessors. She was no prophet in her own country while the international community regarded her among the highest. With every right. She knew everything there was to know about weaving as she created her densely-warped works with brilliant virtue, which combined contemporary themes with ancient technique. All around the world, from Korea to Canada the big names in tapestry all marveled at her works. She was regularly selected and awarded at the American Tapestry Biennials and the Artapestry exhibitions organized by the European Tapestry Forum.

She regarded Noémi Ferenczy as her spiritual mentor: together with her she worshiped and practiced the symbiosis of artistic intention and realization with high professionalism. Autonomous tapestry regards the designing artist and the executing weaver as inseparable. She thought that the language of the genre can only be renewed with the coexistence of the two, as opposed to the earlier practice where the cartoons conceived by painters would be woven into soft, sensitive tapestry by unnamed weavers. To her, tapestry and weaving technique meant unlimited opportunities, which could be synchronized with contemporary, digital thinking. She was awarded with the Noémi Ferenczy Prize in 2008.

She took a great role in MKE, the Society for Hungarian Tapestry Artists during the presidency of Ildikó Dobrányi. They both took the renewal of the genre as their mission, to change the bad reputation of tapestry inherited from the Socialist times, as well as stepping onto the international scene. The two international Kárpit exhibitions (2001, 2005) which they initiated and launched together, lifted the Hungarian tapestry en lieu with the international levels and have given it an outstanding reputation. The international invitation, the open and anonymous competition, the professional jury committee, of which the majority of members was international were all important elements on which they placed great care on and which smuggled an aura of international professionalism into the Hungarian tapestry community.

After the passing of Ildikó Dobrányi in 2008 she was one of the main initiators and founders of the DIA/IDF, the Ildikó Dobrányi Foundation which was meant to carry on the traditions and aims of the Kárpit exhibitions. She chaired the Foundation until her death. She carried on with the mission with a sense of responsibility, professionalism and persistent dedication. Her tenacious work resulted in a number of conferences, catalogues and illustrious exhibitions both at home and abroad. She was the one to launch the Web of Europe project and later the curator of the exhibitions organized in Brussels and the Museum of Applied Arts in Budapest, in 2011. With the contemporary paraphrasing of the ancient tapestry "Mercurius hands over the infant Bacchus to the Nymphs" she chose to cast her vote on the genre reborn as a contemporary one but relying on the traditional technique. (Actually, the 1996 Hymn/Anthem project which featured the cooperation of Hungarian tapestry artists, was her idea, too). She was already very ill in 2014 when she was co-promoter and curator of the Historical and Contemporary Tapestries in Hungary at the Christian Museum in Esztergom. Her work Timeshape has since been purchased by the museum and is on permanent display. The professional recognition of the museum and the fact that her work was placed next to Gizella Solti's piece was great joy to her.

She was a great intellect, sharp-minded, understood the essentials and had a firm sense of justice. Opportunism was far from her. Therefore, when her professional partner and good friend passed, she was mostly left alone and carried on relying on her own devotion and the love for the mission. She took strength from herself. She had a small but supportive circle around her, friends and colleagues who loved and praised her dearly.

She got a doctorate in 2008. She wrote her DLA thesis on modern, autonomous tapestry. Her dissertation was published as a separate book in 2012 titled "The Web of Time. The Metamorphoses of tapestry art of European Tradition". She wanted to teach badly and pass on her high level knowledge, but unfortunately, that did not come to pass.

Some time ago she and Ildikó - along with Miklós Mojzer, the former director of the Museum of Fine Arts in Budapest - invited me to cooperate in this genre. They convinced me with their works to look at the genre generally conceived as dusty and aged medium as relevant and contemporary. For me, tapestry was intervened with them, and with their deaths, a period has ended.

During the long illness of Ibolya I truly understood what "endure with dignity" means, that it has a real meaning and it is not just an empty phrase. She also made me understand how can one look death in the eye. Not a single word of complaint has ever left her lips so I, or we never believed she could die, despite her illness being terminal. She has left a painful emptiness and the thought that righteous people also die and not even their majestic, almost ethereal art can save them. She, however, is immortal to art history, regarded among the highest of her kind.

Written by Edit Andras

Translated to English by Adam Valy

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