A Hungarian artist and his wild looking, huge but innocent and beloved animals have been making the headlines for quite some while. The story is about Gábor Miklós Szőke, sculpture artist, who has already made a name for himself in the art scene despite his young age – as one just cannot miss his monumental public area installations.
“My art is figurative. Since my childhood animals, beasts and other monsters had an effect on my visual world. The human touch is very important in my art, this is why all my sculptures are handmade by me. Thus the making of the retainers, the physical power and spontaneous instinct of creation. All my sculptures are situated on multiple levels.”
Gábor Miklós, a graduate of the University of Fine Arts, Budapest, is in his mid 20s and creates oversized (mostly) animal installations made of wooden slats. His artistic development goes back into his childhood years as he always loved taking things apart – be it the highly valuable antique furniture of his family or a washing machine. Some years later, Gábor Miklós attended an artist colony, where he was supposed to carve stones – a task he just did not feel up to. Instead, he started to play with some wooden sticks that were laying around and that is how he found his calling. Since then he developed his personal style by drawing inspiration from his love for animals. Although the artist’s creations seem to be very modern he actually brings back an ancient tradition, reference to which still can be seen on cave paintings by prehistoric people.
“Beyond the personal, my work strives to trigger a reaction in the spectator. Monumentality lends itself to this purpose and wood is appropriate for these sizes. The sculptures are built into a naive and puerile micro-mytology. In the centre of this world is the character of Dante. Dante is inspired by my Doberman.”
These remarkable creations do come alive, seem dynamic and appear to be moving due to the special technique how slats are put together. Forms and shapes of Gábor Miklós’ sculptures are very organic, even though the wooden parts are edgy, and despite the fact that the sheer size of the creations can be a bit threatening to some, the artworks are just lovable. Today, he is a celebrated contemporary artist with regular invitations to create in- and outdoor installations – some of them are there to stay for a longer period of time, while others just for as little as one night. The temporary creations are dismantled and slats are reused in another projects, as being environment-friendly is one of the artist’s motto and artistic mission.
Gábor Miklós’ creations have been exhibited at prestigious events, such as e.g. the Dobermans at the Sziget Festival, or a huge black Puli at the Smithsonian Folks Festival in Washington D.C., the Tiger at Hello Wood, The Rocking Horse that accommodated up to 70 riders in Budapest and Vienna – just to mention a couple. The artist’s future plans are very exciting as he will build lots of horse installations in China next year to celebrate the year of the horse. He is also planning to do another monumental horse sculpture in Mongolia that will supposed to be the largest horse installation worldwide. Furthermore, Bern, the capital city of Switzerland will also receive a bear that is its heraldic animal and there are other fascinating future projects in the pipeline – meanwhile the artist keeps building his Dante empire that now includes furnitures, too and other areas to be followed.
Personally, I am a happy and very proud owner of one of Gábor Miklós Szőke’s creations, as my prize that came with the Style Award by the InStyle Magazine early October is a black unicorn I will treasure for a long time. Luckily, it is a bit smaller sized version to what we are used to by the artist and so it is a warmly welcome art work in our home – hopefully it will keep beasts, ghosts and bad vibes away. Thank you!
Source of images: courtesy of Gabor Miklos Szoke.