Emese Csornai is a theatre professional with a visual art background. She is mainly specialised in installation, performance and light design. She has studied architecture in Budapest and got a bachelor of audiovisual arts at the Gerrit Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam in 2009.
Having moved from Budapest to Amsterdam, her fascination for layering, light and shadow became really apparent which led her first to shadow installations and later, through a series of dance-related installations to a light design practice. In order to learn more about composition in 3D and subtractive colour scales, she started a study in theatre light design. Her teachers in the field were Petyr Veenstra and Ellen Knops, with whom she is lighting the Monday Match improvisations in the Bimhuis.
She has initiated and co-directed an annual art camp for children in Hungary, and conducted the One minutes workshop at the Academy of Fine Arts in Budapest, as well as her own workshop Drop Yet Sea in Tuzrakter (an occupied art house that closed in 2011).
Together with Alfredo Genovesi she established Sweet Germ performance duo in 2007 and the same two artists together with Marek Jason Isleib fused into Sumo3 in 2009.
I love this way of no theatre lights – her use of space her use of light is not about light but absolutely unpretentious use of space and time.
Emese participated in a number of collective exhibitions and an individual one. She has collaborated with Sabine Molenaar, Simone Giacomini, Kenzo Kusuda, Paolo Fossa, Marie Guilleray, Goran Turnsek, Sirah Foighel Brutmann, Katie Duck, Julyen Hamilton, Alexandra Bachzetsis, Sylvan Meret, Georgi Sztojanov, Makiko Ito, Manuela Lucia Tessi, Gabor Csongradi, Annika Pannitto, Miri Lee, Lily Kiara, Khouloud Yassine, Paolo Cingolani, Frank Willens, and Maya Carroll in several projects.
Emese joined the Mono collective in 2010 which resulted in a fast progressing and prosperous intertwined development with Silvia Bennett. The joint study of the two was taking place whilst making Falling trilogy within Mono collective. They have continued as Tri Co. performance trio together with Gabor Csongradi, and created On being ill, Mouthpiece and Doos.
The shows are a fantastic combination of dance, theatre and visuals. The visual part plays an especially important role. Emese Csornai, originally from Hungary, works with the Mono Collective practising light design. She is playing with influencing both the reception of the performance and the audience. The movements of the beams of light across the stage created a pestilent tone passing insidiously from place to place.
Malgosia Krakowska, “Mono Collective – The choreography of life”
Emese has exhibited Bestiarium, Us, Ornaments Distorted, Nude, and White lies, and directed the performances Drop Yet Sea, A Forest, On Being Ill, Doos, and Stranger. She has also co-created a number of improvisation performances with the Sumo3 group, Mono collective, and within the Monday Match series and in Overtoom301 in Amsterdam.
Her work has been granted by Saint Gobain glass solutions, AFK, VSB fonds, Rabobank, Dansmakers Amsterdam, 2Turven Hoog Festival and Materiaalfonds. She has participated in a peer-coaching module in Teatro della Limonaia and in residencies at Valdapozzo and Dansmakers Amsterdam.
Currently she lives in Berlin and works in Berlin and Amsterdam, and is busy with preparing the book ‘The Market’ for publishing, making theater and working as a light designer and technician for dance productions.
Emese finds improvisation-based direction essential in her work. She doesn’t make a difference between composing visual art or theater work, the second is the darkroom in a culturally specific context, the first is the picture that stays.
In the Bimhuis in Amsterdam every month dancers and musicians come together for a unique improvisation lab: the Monday Match. On the spot they create a performance that is inspiring for performers and an extensive and diverse audience. This year is the ninth season and Emese Csornai is regularly taking care of the light/visuals in a very creative way. She proved to be able to co-operate fruitfully with many different artists, coming from many different countries. Her input during the session shows a fascinating balance between support and intervention, bringing calm and adding energy, giving space and surprise.
Jacqueline Algra, co-ordinator Monday Match at the Bimhuis, Amsterdam
As the proprietor of the cultural space in which the works were exhibited I spent days in close proximity to the pieces. The piece that I felt most drawn to was the installation of the nine mirrors. They were beautiful to watch, sometimes resembling raindrops, other times disembodied breasts of various sizes, floating in our space. It is only after a few days of walking near them and through them that I started seeing myself and my surrounding in the mirrors. Suddenly they were transformed from an aesthetically beautiful piece to watch to a conduit for watching myself and my own space, it was a eureka moment! I usually take the time to digest a piece of art. After some time I either “get” it or not. But to think to get a piece and to be so utterly surprised by it after many days was an inspiring moment, and a testament to the playful inspiration of the artist.