Rainbow unicorn Color Meets Fantasy in This Recycled Wood Sculpture
Memorable, electric, exciting, energetic: all of these words could be used to describe the unique beauty of “Rainbow Unicorn”. This is exactly what kind of urban art the industrial town of Kazincbarcika, Hungary was hoping for when Gabor Szoke was commissioned to install a piece on a central roundabout. Since arriving in the town, the unicorn has been embraced by everyone, who sees it as an inspiration to express themselves a bit more loudly.
In many bigger towns and cities in Hungary there is a style of architecture called Panelhaz, referring to buildings of precast concrete as opposed to standard concrete. This style of construction makes for quick and practical builds, but leads to repetitive, expansive, and blocky apartment buildings. Other Eastern European and former Soviet countries have similar words to describe the same style, which is usually not the most desired type of living quarters and the butt of some jokes. The “Rainbow Unicorn” succeeds in breaking this monotony and standardization with a blast of color, futurism, and individuality.
The piece boldly emphasizes the strong identity of the town, whose traditional symbol is the unicorn. First off, the location is one of high visibility, a main roundabout that receives quite a bit of traffic each day. Secondly, the colors seem as though they were thrown onto the angular wooden pieces of which the statue is composed.
On the whole, the public recycled wood sculpture breathes action into the cityscape. The spiky outline of the figure recalls the Futurist art movement, which emphasized the speed and action of modernity. This zeal is contagious and encourages citizens to be themselves. In fact, Szoke chose the rainbow color palette to represent the ethnic diversity of the town and how everyone can work together.
“I see new opportunities in everything. A pile of old slats is firewood for most; but for me, it is a new form of expression.”
Not only does art in public places benefit the local population, it can also be an environmental and political statement. Both Szoke and his manager Berta Hauer have dedicated so much time to helping improve the living conditions of farm animals and also promoting the arts in areas suffering economically. In the case of the iconic “Rainbow Unicorn”, the material itself states a message: recycling is reinventing and anyone can turn something undesirable into a masterpiece with just a little creativity.