The Chinese Dragon Iconic and Eco-friendly Public Animal Sculpture
Fantasy and art have intertwined in an amazing display of talent in Kazincbarcika, Hungary. This small city welcomed Gabor Szoke with open arms, commissioning multiple urban art pieces, including “The Chinese Dragon”. The artist is famous around the world for his wood and metal public animal sculptures. He has a memorable signature style well-exemplified by “The Chinese Dragon”. The piece is actually a cooperative request between the city and Borsodchem, a Chinese chemical manufacturer located in the vicinity. The decision to install a dragon was the perfect choice to represent the symbiotic relationship between the two.
“Since my childhood animals, beasts, and other monsters play an important role in my artworks.”
Szoke’s endless creativity has spawned such a variety of figures, from iconic and noble animals to fascinating and strange monsters, or in this case, a memorable mythological being. This imagination rubs off on a town or city when immortalized by art in public places. The population of Kazincbarcika, Hungary even threw a festival to welcome this new artwork, which adds so much beauty to the town.
“The Chinese Dragon” is made of many smaller pointed wood pieces that give a unique scale-like texture to the piece. Inside the magic creature is a metal frame that reinforces the whole build. There are some technical realities of designing outdoor urban art that Szoke and his team always expertly address. An enchanting public animal sculpture can only be enjoyed as long as it stays in clean, good condition, something that the artist always makes a priority.
“Obviously, a certain kind of openness is necessary. I don’t judge, but I re-interpret materials, objects, and situations—I elevate them to a new level. There are contradictions, which inspire me. For example, the aesthetics of fear, disgust, beauty, construction and destruction. There are people who are afraid of an abandoned factory building—I see a headquarters in it and I build an empire from it. There are people who bury their dead dog—I revive it.”
Let’s focus on what Gabor Szoke says about “construction and destruction”. In his public animal sculptures he sometimes uses stainless steel, though usually works with recycled wood. This means his materials served a different purpose in a past that was destroyed. The process is eco-friendly and has interesting artistic implications. Not only does the artist bring a mythological being to life in this work, he is also breathing new life into the material itself. This is a symbolic role the artist sees as a huge responsibility—that of creator.
He is also creating a new image for each city or town where his art is installed in public places. Gabor Szoke is classically trained in the fine arts, studying at Accademia di Belle Arti di Brera he developed his unique aesthetic. However, he stays in-tune to those outside of the restrictive and sometimes exclusive art world by doing numerous projects in places that don’t usually receive much attention from artists. Thus, he can help craft the new image of Kazincbarcika, Hungary exactly how the local population would enjoy and appreciate.
It is certain that “The Chinese Dragon” literally brightens up the day of those who pass it in their everyday life. That’s why it has been locally accepted and universally praised as an amazing urban art piece.