Cholnoky Zsófia


“Anna K., a Viennese graduate student illustrated her diploma thesis with horror stories, found in garbage bins. -Second-hand stories- shows Zsófia- the theses were requested to bind in dozen pieces, and I received this one.  For ten years, I formed mentally handicapped children as expert teacher. I’ve got tired. After some hesitation, I enrolled in a vocational training school, and later became a bookbinder. This is a nice profession.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       .

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In afternoons, I run a study circle here.” Many foreigners, expats from Colombia, China, US, signed in. We came here to take part in the activity as well.


“I work mainly in the evening. Nobody comes that time. It was early spring, around nine. ‘Now this will be good, kind of an artist’ – I heard from the outside. Appeared at least ten guys in the shop window, illuminated, coming from a bachelor party perhaps. My female consciousness that day was terrible. I found would be better to receive them at the gate. The door opened, and one of the boys whipped out his guitar. He kneels, sure bet, starts singing: ‘Did King Matthias go to the toilet putting on disguise…’ Immediately became a joy. I bowed slightly, answering with a similar style: ‘Maybe yes, maybe no…!’ I called them inside, and drank a toast to honor the event.“

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“For this bookbindery I took a new qualification, why not? Perhaps for my daily praying, tools and machines simply came on. First a stamp, then the others from garage sales. I was lucky. Here, in the Buda Castle District I got hired this gallery. Originally it was a “peep-in” art gallery, and, for tradition, I left the footprints in front of the shop window. Standing on the footprints, passers-by could peep in to see the paintings on display. Instead, I moved on. The machines arrived in pieces. I asked Zoli Bartusek to hone the puncher blade. Holding the blade, he said: ‘I get to know this, my grandfather made it’. That time I hardly believed it. In this house my neighbour was Pali, a jack-of-all-trade. One day he brought me an old printer’s manual, of year 1936, as he did not need it. Turning over the manual, I found the advertisement of Géza Bartusek, grinder master.”


Along the shelves, old papers from nearby, moulded, marble-pattern cardboard of new generation, plane packing papers. These are interesting and preferred, but they will fade out. On the huge desk bone knife, brushes, pin cushion, strong threads, cutting plate, cutter, rulers, glues… we are working diligently in this order. After two hours, we finish our first booklet.

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I work overtime. I have the key of the gate, for the toilet is in the yard. Géza Balkay, the weird actor’s brother lives here. At the staircase chalk drawings are on the wall. What I need, the clean toilet has rag rug. Suddenly I hear I am not alone. A bloodhound pet greets its master upstairs. He is loudly and fussily talking on his phone, waving his elegant jacket. Keys ringing, the door is opened, the dog jumps in, then the door slams. Silence.

17/11/2010 Budapest

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1012 Budapest, Várfok utca 8.





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