Art on the Lake in Budapest


One day, during our recent visit to Budapest we visited the Museum of Fine Arts on Hero’s Square. After our visit, as it was a beautiful day, we decided to take a stroll through the nearby city park. Walking along the shore of the lake which is a major feature in the north west corner of the park, we noticed a number of structures in the water. Taking a closer look we discovered that they were art works which were part of an exhibition “Art on Lake” organised by the Museum of Fine Arts to celebrate Hungary’s turn to chair the Council of the European Union during the first six months of 2011.

The exhibition consists of sculptures by 25 contemporary artists from EU member countries, including Hungary. This might not seem that unusual – the twist is that the sculptures are surrounded by water in the lake.

The museums and galleries in Budapest charge an entry fee, but this exhibition was free. We were able to view the sculptures by walking along the shore of the lake and w stopped for a while and had a coffee and cake in the pleasant lakeside cafe on the western shore (very reasonable prices). We discovered that it was possible to get up even closer to the sculptures by hiring a small boat, so we took the opportunity to do this. This allowed us to gain a different perspective by getting up close and also by looking at them from different angles.


Atlantis by Tea Mäkipää

I particularly liked this aspect of the exhibition as it allowed the viewers to interact with the art – so long as you took care not to fall into the water! It also meant that you weren’t continually watched by over-vigilant invigilators, like in the indoor museums and galleries.

Apparently the exhibits are floodlit during the evening after dark, and some of the works have internal or external lights incorporated into them. It would have been good to visit during when it was dark, but unfortunately by the time we found out about this it was too late as we were due to return home.


Water-sail Statue by Günther Uecker

As with any exhibition of this nature, I liked some of the works better than others, but they were all of a very high standard. Some had been created especially for the exhibition while others had previously been displayed on dry lad. The setting in the water added interest even though the lake was too murky and rough to allow any reflections.


Late Departure, Early Arrival by Balázs Kicsiny

One of the sculptures (Soul XII) was by Jaume Plesna, who currently has a major exhibition showing at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, which we visited shortly after our return to England. It was one of his figures constructed from metal letters of which there are a number on show at the YSP. I think setting it in the water certainly added something to the work.


Soul XII by Jaume Plesna

Some of the works were very simple, like these deer (“Paradise now”)  by  Krištof KINTERA constructed from a metal barrier and a few metal tubes. I thought it was very effective. The use of everyday materials used in a different context reminded me of a work by Picasso where he used a bicycle seat and handlebars to create the head of a bull.


Paradise now  by  Krištof KINTERA



Waiting by Erik Binder. Everyday objects in an “alien” setting. Maybe not to everyone’s taste but I liked this. The lamp is lit up at night and I think that would enhance the work.


K.M. Column-fountain by Krzysztof M. Bednarski


Bonhomme by Daniel Knorr. Like a snowman, but constructed from stones.


Bird by Magdalena Abakanowicz


Rounded Loop by Kelemen Zénó


One thought on “Art on the Lake in Budapest

  1. Pingback: Jaume Plensa at the YSP « Down by the Dougie

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