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Leonóra and the lion


THE MINI SCULPTURES OF VESZPRÉM

Guerrilla sculptor Mihály Kolodko created three mini-sculptures for Veszprém. The miniature artworks can be found in touristically frequented locations in Veszprém. The mini-statues can be explored individually using the free map available at the Tourinform Veszprém office. More Shorter

A short history of the mini sculptures of Veszprém

The beginning

Veszprém-based A1-Sped International Freight Forwarding and Service Ltd has from the very start considered it important to complement their business operations with supporting the city’s public benefit associations as well as aid organizations and foundations as far as their means would allow. A strong feeling of affection and belonging to the city prompted the company owner and his family to create an object of lasting value for Veszprém’s everyday life in addition to backing aid organizations and associations. They started thinking in terms of an art work which local or visitors could feel their own, something likeable to all age groups, easily receptible, and last but not least an item which would add to the attractiveness of the county seat as a touristic destination. The initial idea emerged in 2018; it was after a year of thinking that a concept took shape: Mihály Kolodko’s mini sculptures were a perfect fit for the aim. Mihály Kolodko’s oeuvre had long been studied and liked by the client, and for this reason he wanted to commission at least one work by the guerilla sculptor to add colour to the look of Veszprém’s streets.

The artist: Mihály Kolodko

Mihály Kolodko and his family settled over into Hungary from Uzhhorod (Hungarian: Ungvár), Ukraine in 2016. In recent years the sculptor has become well-known for creating mini bronze figures of characters from 1980s Hungarian cartoon series (Kockásfülű nyúl – the rabbit with checked ears, Mekk Elek – jack of all trades, master of none, and Főkukac – an earthworm fishing bait with a character of his own). The miniature art works which started cropping up unexpectedly were instantly taken to people’s hearts, as Mihály Kolodko’s mini sculptures belong to a tradition of composition which makes sculptures less intimidating and easily accessible to audiences. These little creations make people pause for a while and reflect on minute details as well as the sculpture’s environment. It is hardly a wonder that several exploration tour events have been organized around these mini sculptures.

Joint work, joint creation

On 7th October 2019 Balázs Török, CEO of the freight forwarding company contacted guerrilla sculptor Mihály Kolodko with the details of his plans and commissioned him to create one or two miniature bronze sculptures for them. Collaboration started off quickly: a few days later, on 12th October 2019 Mihály Kolodko gladly and officially accepted the commission. Although there were no concrete ideas in the beginning, characteristic Veszprém themes, contents and places were gradually defined, and these in turn inspired the plans of the art works. From the very beginning it was crucial the the sculptor have a free hand in creation and his reflections be observed; the locations, the artistic content and the message of the sculptures were all selected and shaped in close collaboration by the client and the artist.

Inspiration

The subject matter of each sculpture is made up from the combination of elements is Veszprém’s history, the city’s cultural diversity, tourism aspects, and naturally, the environment in wich they are placed. These are site-specific works: the sculpture and the location both contribute to the content and the selection of the site is also part of the creative process. The results of the close and intensive collaboration between Mihály Kolodko and Balázs Török are already visible in Veszprém’s streets: Ernő the Guard, Ödön the Street Musician, and LeoNora, The Girl and the Lion.

Installing guerrilla sculptures

A guerrilla artist, sculptures with a permit. Almost all sculptures by guerrilla artist Mihály Kolodko were installed without a permit. The sculptures of Veszprém diverge in several points from the traditions of installing guerrilla sculptures. On the one hand they were privately commissioned, and on the other hand, they were installed at their sites with a permit. The sculptures are property of the business venture and thus the Török family, yet from the very beginning were meant to be located in public spaces. The installation of the Veszprém sculptures was preceded by a long period of planning, talks, and official permit procedures.

Sites and atmospheres

The three sculptures are placed in different sites; in addition, each conveys a different mood and atmosphere. Our Street Musician is a character on the merry, bohemian side, which corresponds to its site, a part of the city where the Utcazene (Street Music) Festival takes place – this is a scene for fun. Heroes’ Gate as a building is in itself monumental with an air of history, so the Guard conveys the impression of a stern and disciplined defender of the castle. The Girl and the Lion are a calm and peaceful pair, perfectly mirroring the mood of walking with the family or friends and the atmosphere of the park as a place for rest and relaxation.

Name-giving

The commissioners of the sculptures considered it especially important to bring all three art works close to Veszprémers and those who are interested in the sculptures, so their names were chosen by vote.

 

He is guarding our city!

Who is he?

A Guard of Veszprém castle, watching over our city. He took up his post at the entrance of the one-time border castle, at Heroes’ Gate. He is proud to be wearing the Crown Guardians’ uniform and is carefully protecting his tiny treasure chest. He is a true patriot, disciplined and alert. He might be somewhat stern but has an immense heart.

The Guard symbolizes the past.

The birth of Ernő

The work was inspired by the city’s history. It is meant to represent a range of Veszprém happenings and stories, from the battles of the Turkish times and World War I to World War II when the Crown of Hungary was briefly safeguarded in Veszprém. The Crown of Hungary and the Holy Dexter were held safe in Veszprém from 6th November to 6th December 1944. Ernő is wearing the period uniform of the Royal Hungarian Crown Guards.

Ernő’s site, plans and concepts

The Guard was placed at the western pillar of Heroes’ Gate on Monday, 13th July 2020. The name-giving vote closed on 1st August 2020: since then, the guard has been called Ernő after a former commanding officer of the Royal Hungarian Crown Guards, Ernő Pajtás. It was under his command that the Crown of Hungary and the Holy Dexter were held safe in Veszprém for a month. This mini sculpture differs from the other two in the fact that for this one, the site was chosen first, and the content of Veszprém’s historic events was formulated on this basis. In the case of the other two works the content was the first to be determined. This was the sculpture which first had a full concept, and it was also the one which was first modelled out of plasticine, but came to be cast in bronze as second. This statue was the first to be installed.

Details

Material: bronze. Dimensions: length: 12 cm, width: 10 cm, height: 30 cm.

“Music should belong to everyone!” – Zoltán Kodály

Who is he?

Our Street Musician is a truly bohemian and jolly character; laid-back and casual, he lives in the present. We do not know where he came from or where he is going, but we hope he stays with us for a long-long time.

Our Street Musician symbolizes the present.

The birth of Ödön

The major emphasis in Veszprém’s cultural life falls on music, so it was beyond question that this theme should come to be represented by a mini sculpture.

This is how the Street Musician was born.

The Street Musician was inspired by the following:

- VeszprémFest and its accompanying event: Rosé, Riesling and Jazz Days

- Veszprém Utcazene (Street Music) Festival

- Leopold Auer, violinist, conductor and violin teacher, an outstanding figure of musical life across the globe. – Auer Festival Veszprém

- Mendelssohn Chamber Orchestra

- UNESCO award: Veszprém received the title City of Music in 2019

Ödön’s site, plans and concepts

Ödön took his place in a central area of the Utcazene (Street Music) Festival, close to Hangvilla, the venue of the Auer Festival and a wide range of other music events. In fact this art work is not intended to reflect on any single event, musician or instrument, but on music in general, which is a definitive element of cultural life in Veszprém. This is why the artist placed an instrument looking like a snail shell into our musician’s hand.

The process leading to the final form of the sculpture was quite long. Artist and client initially planned to mount the sculpture on a stone pedestal so that the tiny figure would not get lost on the high curbside and could easier call attention to itself. The stone pedestal was first designed in the shape of a violin, but was finally chosen to take the form of a suitcase – hinting at a street musician who travels the world. A representation of a violin, a guitar, a harmonica, or even multiple musical instruments was raised in the creative process but all these failed to meet the desired concept. The story behind the cap is also similar: according to the original idea the street musician would have been wearing a brimmed hat; the final form came with a baseball cap. In chronological order, the Street Musician was the second sculpture to have reached the final concept, but it was the first one to be cast in bronze. The Street Musician was the second sculpture of the three to be installed. It took up its place in Kossuth Street on Thursday, 6th August 2020. It received the name ÖDÖN as the final result of the vote on Sunday, 16th August 2020. 

Details

Materials: the street musician’s figure is made of bronze; the suitcase and the instrument-like snail shell are of limestone from the Süttő quarry. Dimensions: length: 47 cm, width: 33 cm, height: 27 cm. It weighs 55 kg.

Together for the future

Who are they?

Our little girl is brave, since she is resting on a lion’s back, turning her own back on danger. Who knows, she may already have tamed the lion and become friends with it, because she is sitting on its back in complete safety, as if the maned beast were positively protecting her.

The Girl and the Lion symbolizes the future.

The birth of The Girl and the Lion

This third sculpture was inspired by history and tourism together. In this case and at the request of his client, the artist took the following themes into consideration:

Saint Margaret of Hungary (Margaret Ruins and the little girl): Margaret, daughter of King Béla IV was raised from age 3 by Dominican nuns. (Budapest’s Margaret Island is named after her.)

Veszprém is the City of Queens (“Almost every little girl wants to become a princess.”)

Veszprém Zoo (The lion is the king of animals; in this case he is the prince by the side of the princess.)

The Girl and the Lion’s site, plans and concepts

The park side end and castle side pillartop of the pedestrian bridge at the far end of Kollégium Street. Its background is Margaret Ruins, with a sight of Veszprém castle in the opposite direction, and the zoo located a short walk away. The choice of the site and the final form of the sculpture are evocative of the specific locations, and beyond this, by a wide associative domain, of the City of Queens and of linking past to present to future. The artist put a smartphone in the girl’s hands. A teenager today may really think it is a smartphone but those who are familiar with the historical aspects of the place may have an association to the Bible or even just a simple book.

The Girl and the Lion was set in its place on Thursday, 3rd September 2020. It received the name LeoNora on Saturday, 14th September 2020 based on the result of the vote.

Initially there were several ideas for a site and possible themes: According to the first idea the girl was to hold a small telescope in her hand but she was not to look into it: rather, the figurine would have invited people to look into the instrument which was to be pointed towards Saint Stephen’s Bridge, locally called Viaduct.

The original site was to be the right end of the lest lower lookout balcony at the far end of Veszprém castle.

Another earlier idea was to have the girl seated on the back of a standing lion, leaning forward and embracing its neck. The site at that stage was already the bridge’s end where the sculpture is now placed.

Details

Materials: the figure of the girl is cast in bronze, the lion is carved in limestone from the Tardos quarry. Dimensions: length: 36 cm, width: 17 cm, height: 25 cm. It weighs 18.1 kg.

Address: Veszprém