Statues of Imre Varga in Siófok
Imre Varga, one of the most well known artist of public sculptures, was born in Siófok. The Kossuth and Herder Award Winner sculptor has hundreds of statues all over Hungary and we can even see some in Paris.
At various spots of his birth town, visitors can bop into statues and copies of his, which is no surprise, as since the first half of the 1990's, the city decided to transform its public spaces into a kind of Varga collection.
Upon arrival to the city, there are two parks on both sides of the train station, where we can already see some of the Varga statues. Going towards the lake from the station we reach the Jókai Park which is the location of an original copy of the Gyula Krúdy Statue. The original statue of the writer sitting on a cart was made in 2003 and can be seen in Nyíregyháza. The copy in Siófok, which contains some noticeable changes to the original, was made in 2004 by Varga.
On the other side of the station is the Millennium Park where one of the many sights is the sculpture of Siófok-born Imre Kálmán. The world famous composer of the operetta The Gypsy Queen is depicted as sitting in his chair in the Music Pavilion, listening to the music of the park.
In another spot of the park stands the group of four statues called "The Martyrs". The original title of the 1985 statue that stood in Kaposvár was "Lenin and the Somogy martyrs of the Hungarian Soviet Union" but in 1991 all the statues and symbols of socialism were removed from the public spaces and were put in storage - along with this statue which had seven figures at the time. The statues were relocated to Siófok in 1993 but only four of the figures remained and the artwork received a new name.
Walking by the Water Tower and the Main Square of Siófok, we are virtually presented with a free Imre Varga Exhibition with more than a dozen statues of the artist. At the foot of the Water Tower is the statue of Count István Széchenyi placed in the middle of a circular fountain in 2012. The large bronze and chrome steel statue depicts the count standing on the first steam boat of the Balaton, the Kisfaludy, as Széchenyi was the founder and lifetime president of the Balaton Steamship Company.
On the Main Square, we can see the original copy of the group of statues called "Those Waiting" which has its original in Óbuda and depicts fours women holding umbrellas.
Also on this square is the statue of avantgarde painter Béla Czóbel, which is also a copy. The original was erected on the spot of Czóbel's former studio in Szentendre in 1977.
The bronze and chrome steel statue of Francis II Rákóczi was erected on the 300th anniversary of Rákóczi giving his seal to Siófok in 1705.
There is also a statue of Varga which was inspired by the poem A Carcass (Une Charogne) by Charles Baudelaire. It is a copy of the original in Mezőberény which was erected in 1989.
Not far from here is the original copy of the memorial "Professor" of István Hatvani. An interesting aspect of this artwork is that Varga made three copies: there is one in Debrecen, one in Siófok, and the third one is in the open air Middelheim Museum of Antwerpen, Belgium.
The "Memento for the II. Hungarian Army" is a group of statues made up of three figures without head, with one arm and one leg but with visible military pledges.
The 1988 statue "The Birth of Venus" stood at the community center until 2005 when it was relocated to its current location on the Main Square. The artwork contains symbols of water, the sun, and the wind.
Near the Main Square, at the entrance of the Imre Kálmán Cultural Center, we can see a smaller version of the 1969 Imre Madách Statue located in Salgótarján and the bronze statue of Copernicus thinking.
The Béla Bartók Statue on the eastern site of the Sió Bridge is part of the four statues made by Varga about Bartók. The other three are located in the garden of the Béla Bartók Memorial House in Budapest, in Makó, and in the Béla Bartók Park in Paris. There is also a statue of Bartók in Brussels but it does not form a part of this series which's statues are almost identical.
The statue of former minister and president Mihály Károlyi erected in Kossuth Square, Budapest was the subject of heated political debates and demonstrations. In 2012, the statue was removed from the square and, after renovation. placed in Siófok, near the Balatonszéplak train station in a small park. The nearly life-sized statue of Károlyi stands on a basement with three steps, under two arches.
In the cemetery at Szépvölgyi Street is the chrome steel statue called "Golgota, or the Crucifixion of Christ", which depicts Christ on the cross with the cloaked figure of Mary at the feet of the cross.
There is another statue of Gyula Krúdy in Siófok. The bust can be seen at the entrance of the school named after the writer; it is a modified version of Varga's other Krúdy statue.
The oldest artwork of Varga in Siófok can be seen in the garden of the local hospital. The "Time Past" is a three figure composition representing the dreams of youth, passing and the acceptance of passing.
The "Assumption of Mary" was made by Varga from chrome steel in 2004 and it is located in the garden of the St. Cletus Church
In front of the Fire Departments, we can see bronze and chrome steel statue of Saint Florian. Imre Varga depicts the patron saint of chimney sweeps and firefighters as a Roman soldier in uniform, holding a bucket of water which he uses to put out the fire of a small house.