With their strange neon, bland decor and strangely contrasting colours, stations on the blue metro 3 line are a time capsule of late Socialist art and design. They preserve a memory, peculiar to Eastern Europe before the fall of the Wall. The Fanta-coloured benches, clocks, signboards, columns and iconic coverings that typified these stations are now being put to good use – by going into a museum.
With the renovation of the middle section of metro line 3 between Lehel tér and Nagyvárad tér now in full swing, experts from the Transport Museum have perused Nyugati, Deák tér and Kálvin tér stations, in close co-operation with the Budapest Transport Company – and 41 iconic artefacts were selected.
Some may recognise certain features from the cult Hungarian film Kontroll, others might simply have been wondering what would happen to the maps, lights and pillars that were so much part of their daily lives until recently. All are now due to be displayed at the Museum of Transport.
One work, on the other hand, remains in place: a mosaic made of letter tiles inserted into the wall covering of Deák tér metro station. While waiting for the next train, we will all have spelled out and tried to decipher the work of the Portuguese artist João Rodrigues Vieira, which shows details of Portuguese poems translated into Hungarian and Hungarian poems translated into Portuguese. These will stay at their original location after a thorough cleaning.