Recently, CNN paid a visit to Budapest in their special program “Iconic Budapest,” in order to find out whether the Hungarian capital really is the Paris of Central Europe. They took their audience on a tour of the city, including its stunning architecture, and moving from the monuments and statues of famous Hungarians to the smallest additions to the capital: Mihály Kolodko, whom they call “the Banksy of Budapest” and his miniature sculptures.
The half-hour show took a look at the beautifully renovated Párisi Udvar and the brand-new upscale hotel of the capital which operates in the building. The site, once the most expensive in Budapest, was originally home to Budapest’s first modern shopping mall, inspired by the Parisian ‘Passage des Panoramas.’ At the turn of the 20th century, Budapest’s Central Savings Bank built its iconic headquarters in Beaux-Arts architecture style, featuring Gothic, Moorish, and Art Nouveau elements.
Then they showed Gresham Palace, Budapest’s Four Seasons Hotel, which finished in ninth place on the Condé Nast Traveler’s Readers’ Choice Awards among the top hotels in Central Europe. The neo-classical style palace was built in 1827. Originally, the palace served as an office building as well as a residence for senior staff of the Gresham company. During the occupation after World War II, the Red Army used the building as a barracks. Eventually it became decrepit and was used as an apartment building during the communist era. In 1998, after receiving approval from the Budapest Heritage Board, it was reconstructed as a luxury hotel while retaining its original Art Nouveau architecture.
With the help of Hungary Today’s journalist, Fanni Kaszás, CNN also contacted Mihály Kolodko, whom they dubbed “the Banksy of Budapest” to see how he placed his last miniature guerrilla sculpture on Liberty square. The notoriously camera-shy sculptor has previously given an interview to Hungary Today which caught the attention of the US broadcaster:
Kolodko placed his first miniature bronze statue depicting Főkukac (Boss Worm) from the iconic 1980s Hungarian cartoon, A nagy ho-ho-ho-horgász (The Great Ang-ang-ang-angler), in the Hungarian capital in 2016. Since then, both adults and children have searched high and low for the miniature figures scattered all across Budapest. He said that with the miniature statuettes, he figured out how to express great thoughts in tiny little forms: “Since I’ve wanted to communicate with the people living here -not with words — I don’t have an impressive vocabulary — but with my sculptures. I not only put my time but also my thoughts and feelings into my sculptures.”
However, his latest work, a small ushanka (winter hat) with a red star on it, hidden in Liberty Square, on a symmetrical line opposite the monument for Soviet soldiers, has stirred political controversy. Just a few days after it was placed on the square, politician and MP of national radical party Mi Hazánk (Our Homeland), Erik Fülöp, knocked the statuette off the fence with an ax and threw it into the Danube.