New East Digital Archive

Coming home: exploring emmigration and identity with Hungarian artist Zsofia Schweger

8 March 2018

Zsofia Schweger first began painting the untouched interiors of her childhood home in Hungary back in 2014. A lifetime of migration — first to the US, then to the UK — had left the house in the town of Sandorfalva frozen in time, filled with the old furniture and belongings that the family was unable to take abroad.

“My work has been influenced by my experience as a Hungarian living abroad,” Schweger told The Calvert Journal. “I’ve been interested in the definition of home, and ideas of local identity and the emigrant experience. In these paintings, I was interested in depicting a home, where I don’t belong anymore.”

Soft pastels invite viewers into each domestic setting, while the flat, reductive application of paint hints at a sense of alienation: keeping the viewer on the cusp of the painting itself.

Schweger’s work followed her to her new London home – but interior portraits of her flat in the East End fell away as the artist experienced a greater sense of belonging. Slowly, she began engaging with another kind of interior space: libraries.

“Library interiors have an air of permanence. And permanence is certainly something I value after a decade of moving often,” she says.

To see more of Schweger’s work, visit her website by clicking here.