Art that goes with the grain

q&a Ferenc Cakó, a sand animator, will be interpreting three of Picasso's works during a one-off performance at Abu Dhabi's Cultural Foundation.

Undated handout image showing 'sand animator' Ferenc Cako.

REF al28AU-ferenc 28/08/08
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Ferenc Cakó is a sand animator. He will be interpreting three of Picasso's works, including Portrait of Dora Mar, Portrait of Marie-Thérèse and Jacqueline with Crossed Hands, during a 25-minute performance at Artscape Picasso, which is being organised by the Tourism Development and Investment Company. It takes place tonight at the Cultural Foundation in Abu Dhabi. Cakó lives in Budapest.

They're paintings with sand. I can create specific images, or I simply use music to inspire a story, which I then interpret through sand.

My father was a graphic designer and I started making cartoons in secondary school. I moved on to making 8mm films at college, which led to doing film animation.

I was a graphic designer and painter and had done a lot of work with airbrush pictures; the structure is the same with sand. I had also been animating films for a long time and started doing them with sand. In the films, you cannot see my hands, so there are about 25 frames a second and it looks like the sand is shifting on its own. From there, I graduated to doing animations during live performances.

Because the light can pass through it and, although it's monochrome, it shows the different shapes beautifully.

No, I rehearse them with the music to make sure the animation is the right length.

I use only my hands.

The images I create rapidly transform into something different, so yes, they are temporary.

Yes, many times. I have done many private events for various sheikhs, as well as the stock market - mainly for government people.

I love listening to classical music and finding out about the composer's history. Music and art are closely linked and this often gives me the idea for a story.

I like to tell a life story, featuring plenty of emotions and elements from nature, like birds.

I always tell people that I cannot depict things with technical details, like cars or aeroplanes.

My performances are never shorter than five minutes and never longer than 15. If it's shorter than five minutes, there isn't enough time for a story to have a beginning, middle and end. If it's longer than 15, it is difficult for people to maintain concentration; all those shifting images are tiring for the brain.

I always bring sand from the River Danube with me. It is quartz-based so the light shines through it to show the variations of shape that I have created.

I love travelling to new locations and meeting new people. I have worked all over the world for a wide range of clients.

I have very grandiose plans for the future. I hope to be able to do performances with a live band at some stage.