The History of the Dunaújváros Steel Sculptor Workshop

   The Dunaújváros Steel Sculptor Workshop was formed in 1974 as part of the workshop movement wich blossomed in the late 60s.The assembly of sculptors, wich was held in 1967 at the Székesfehérvár Light Steel Works, can be regarded as its closest 'relation' in caracter, although it can not be considered the main predecessor, and that assembly was held only once.

   The use of steel and iron art - and by extension in modern architecture - became widespread after the Second World War. World famous artists such as Claes Oldenburg, Alexander Calder, Eduardo Chillida and Jean Tinguleybegan to employ them in their work. This material - owing to its features - offered almost unlimited opportunities to sculpture, not only due to the various techniques of handling (casting, wrighting, welding, etc.) but also because of the possible sizes and forms of creation, therefore offering an alternative to the traditional materials used in sculpture. In invitations to the Dunaújváros workshop these were emphasised and offered to artists from the outset: the Danube Iron Works provided both material and technology.

   When the workshop was founded in 1974, town leaders on one side, and the local youth intelligentsia and artists on the other, had divergent visions concerning the workshop's character and artistic aims. Local leaders had an idealistic, nostalgic Nagybánya school in mind, a Dunaújváros school gathering local artists, which they imagined wolud be the cornerstone of a certain style characteristic of the town, showing features of Dunaúhjváros through worksof art. The architects, artists and exhibition organisers, however, recognising the impossibility of 'local art', directed their attention towards the concept that tha material at the Danube Iron Works, iron and steel, could represent a new direction for artists. Despite the eventual compromise, the pieces created during the fist two years became the source of serious disputes. These arguments were the result of the incomprehensibility of the finished sculptures, questions over their artistic value, and objections to their location in public places. The architects, who were thinking along the lines of a more elaborete town building scheme, would have liked to see these pieces situated next to theirbuildings in the Római quarter of town, wich was tobe built in the 70s. The sculpturesin danger of being melted down, were left at the Riverbank Maintenance Office for some time. However, 'fortune' soon arrived in the form of an order from party headquarters (a member of the French Communist Party wanted to see the sculptures). The pieces were collected and placed along the Danube bank; at the same time work began on landscaping the Danube bank itself, with tree and flower planting.

   During the 1974-1993 period, 44 artists participated in successive workshops after their applications were accepted (occasionally individuals werw invited). Prospective participants were asked to submit a scale model, plan or description. After the entries werw judged, thechosen artists were invited on a field trip and shown around the Iron Works. Occasionally they were given an opportunity to modify their sculptural models to suit a selected location in the town. Initially, the duration of the workshop was one month, this was later extended to six weeks. The artists received full board as well as a grant.

  Apart from the traditional materialsproduced at the Iron Works, sculptors also bad the opportunity to works with atmospheric corrosion ressistant steel, acid resistant steel, semi-finished products, various contours as well az almost all steel procesing techniques - casting, wrighting, pressing, welding, turning, corroding, stripping and styling. In executing their sculptures the artists learnt a great deal from the factory craftsmen, for whom this strange and unusual sculpting represented a professional challange. Those who invited the applicants arrange in advance for a team of workers to take responsibility for each sculpture - so as to guarantee their completion in the six or seven weeks available. It is worth mentioning that the placing of these sculptures in public places and theire acceptance by the local community assumed crucial importance: these people here happy to see the finished pieces in their surroundings, since they also viewed them as their own achievements.