Ella Olosz Gazda - textile artist


"I wish to bring out the consternation of simplicity" (G. Olosz Ella)
Terilluzio 1987

Ella Olosz Gazda (1937 -1993) received her diploma in Fine Arts with distinction in textile work in 1961 from the Ion Andreescu Academy of Fine Arts. While a student, she began to specialize in rug weaving and to explore her passion for the extraordinarily rich traditions of Transylvanian folk-weaving.

According to her philosophy of art, an artist's work sholuld reflect his own world, i.e. his disappointments and disillusions, his hardships and humiliations, and his anguish and frustrations. Using traditional folk-art techniques, Ella Olosz Gazda's abstract and non-descriptive weavings portray the struggle between the extremes of the human condition and mirror the spiritual world and soul of her people the Hungarians of Transylvania.

In the 1960's, Ella Olosz Gazda began her career as an art teacher in various schools in Aiud and Covasna. Later, she married and while raising her four children, she found enough time to develop her artistic talents. Folk art, modern art, and European gobelin techniques, as well as her continuous search to combine these three aspects in her work, distinguish her early weavings.

During the 70's, Ella Olosz Gazda made an important step forward in her artistic development. She traveled to Vienna, Munich, Paris, London, Madrid, Florence and Milan where she admired ancient and modern art from around the world. She had the opportunity to visit the Biennale Venice and the Documenta in Kassel. Her travels offered a colorful source of inspiration and allowed her to familiarize herself with the main trends of modern art. Having also traveled to Egypt, Turkey, Pakistan, Saumarkand, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Bukhara, and Afghanistan, she broadened her artistic outlook by coming into contact with ancient weaving techniques and traditions of Eastern decorative art.

Her trip to Afghanistan provided her with the knowledge of the old ikat and fabric weaving techniques, which she later applied, in the 1980's, to her own tapestries. Distinguishing her among other artists, was her blending of the ancient and modern weaving techniques she used in her work.

Her artistic aspirations can be best described as an attempt to draw forth the contemporary from the ancient through a synthesis of European and Asian artistic values, folk-art and gobelin traditions in carpet weaving. Her success was, indeed, complete. She incorporated East and West, ancients and moderns, eastern meditations, as well as a modern view of life.

Although Ella Olosz Gazda spent her life in a small rural Transylvanian town, Covasna, her life's work demonstrates that unique artistic ideas are not only to be found in the big city, but also in the tranquillity of the secluded village.

Her kind and pure meditative nature, along with her strong will, provided her with a unique perspective on the slightest movements in contempory art. Hidden behind her self-discipline was a rich world of emotions. Her search for the deepest and purest sources of art were characterized by Puritan obedience and perseverance similar to that of Bartok. Through her search, she recognized all folk-art to be comprised of universal, ancient, and contemporary values.

After discovering the treasures of the past 5,000 years, and fulfilling herself as an artist, she channeled her work into the 20th century stream of art trends. Through her original weaving technique and the refinement of her feelings, she revealed her exceptional value as an artist not only national but also universal.

[Text by Ágnes Fazakas]


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