City guide

Mysterious death in Budapest: can Columbo solve it?

Photo : We Love Budapest

Budapest is whispering about the sudden death of a long-tailed furry creature believed to be a meerkat or a chipmunk. The body was found earlier this week abandoned on Jászai Mari tér and its unsettling state has shocked the city. The little lifeless creature is firmly holding a mini revolver in its paw, supposedly as a last attempt to save its life. The chalk outline around the corpse indicates that the police are also fully on the case, obviously. But what happened? Suicide? Murder? Did Chip and Dale have a deadly disagreement? The high bronze content of the corpse would make autopsy rather difficult, but fear not, no crime goes unsolved in fantasy-full Budapest, the perpetrator(s) will be found out. Many expect the solution to come from Columbo and his dog – whose sculpture stands steps away – but the famous investigator has not yet commented on the case.

The prostrate statuette, found at the end of Falk Miksa utca on Jászai Mari tér, is another small pop-up artwork that embellishes Budapest. The creator is thought to be Ukrainian artist Mihajlo Kolodko, responsible for many small sculptures around the city. He has been associated with many pop-up artworks, including some 30 small objects scattered around Széll Kálmán tér – a wallet, an umbrella, a skateboard, a snail, birds and others – all of which you can find by just walking around.

Photo: We Love Budapest

In early June, another new small Kolodko sculpture appeared on Széll Kálmán tér honouring Mekk Elek, the protagonist of an old and popular Hungarian TV puppet. Mekk Elek is a very clumsy goat, who works as a handymen in different crafts to little success, but his heart is in the right place. In the artwork, he is looking where on the square he could put up his – slightly clumsy – sign.

Mekk Elek on Széll Kálmán térPhoto: Kinga Lívia Papp / WLB

On Szabadság tér, Kermit the Frog from The Muppet Show is hiding by the fence, while opposite Parliament, a tiny tank is parked on the railing. Since its creation, the latter has been graffitied with the motto of Hungary’s 1956 Uprising, Ruszkik haza (‘Russians, Go Home’). Back in the spring, yet another Kolodko statuette, one of Franz Liszt sat on his suitcase, was unveiled at the airport. Last December, Kolodko shared a photo of the design of a meerkat sculpture on his Facebook page, so it is almost certain that he is the artist behind this new pop-up artwork, too.

Columbo and his dog on Jászai Mari térPhoto: Tamás Kőrösi / WLB