A Tiny Axe Mini-Statue in Budapest’s Liberty Square is not only symbolic of Hungarian history, but it has a colorful history of its own.
Tiny Axe Mini-Statue
Liberty Square – Szabadság square
GPS: 47.505038, 19.050018
Budapest’s Liberty Square has long been an ideological battleground. It contains controversial monuments from every political era of Hungary’s history.
The creator of the tiny sculpture series Mihály Kolodko (Misha Mihály Kolodko) instantly became a part of that controversy in 2019 with his Ushanka or ‘Russian Hat’ mini-statue.
Within a week, Mi Hazánk MP Erik Fülöp arrived to the square and knocked the little ushanka off with an axe, then threw it into the Danube River.
Kolodko says that art is supposed to create an emotional reaction, but he didn’t expect it to get axed.
So in response, what did Kolodko do? He created an axe, replacing the Russian hat, perhaps as a statement that art cannot be silenced. And that perhaps in a very death of Obi-wan Kenobi kind of way, maybe the silencing of one statue made the statement of the artist more powerful than before.
Kolodko, who was born in Ukraine during the communist era, said that when he first came to Budapest in 2016, he was surprised by the sight of the Soviet heroic monument was erected on Liberty Square in 1946, and the tiny Russian hat was a statement to the still present Russian influence in Hungary.
Hungarian television channel ATV contacted the sculptor who said, he “thought the statue would trigger strong reactions” but didn’t expect that someone to take an axe to it. He was not sad, because the essence of the artwork is to evoke emotion, and it certainly achieved that. The statue was created, its life ended soon after, but in the eyes of the artist, that was perfect.
Kolodko’s plan was to make another miniature statue on the right side of Liberty Square, where he would put a helmet for an American football player on a cushion as a symbol of the presence of American influence in Hungary. But ultimately the statue he created was just a sarcastic and brilliant rebuttal to the violent demise of the previous sculpture.
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