- The Center
- Archives & Resources
- Cultural Heritage Policy
- Education & Exhibits
- Join Us
- Support Our Work
Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage
Your tagline here.
Szőke’s Doberman, Dante, is one of his biggest sources of inspiration. Szőke’s beliefs in the close natural relationship between animals and the earth have compelled him to focus on animals as his sculptural subject matter. These beliefs are in line with his philosophy on art. “The influences came mostly from classical people [artists], but it’s mostly the animals, the topic that defines it [my art], and all that relates to it, like spontaneity, instinctive work without planning ahead.”
Szőke refers to totemism, a belief in the spiritual significance of animals, as a natural source of inspiration.
“This extravagant artistic style, this is absolutely a process blessed with an ancient power. It is an instinctive, ancient, totemistic thing that, despite its modern, very progressive impression, it is very ancient, and it can be traced back to cave drawings or the sculptures of the antiquity, or any other later sculptures. And the Puli, as an ancient Hungarian breed, carries a lot of these powers, and its dynamism, its form, its intellect, it can absolutely be combined with this use of materials.”
The Hungarian Puli dog built on the Mall was just one of Szőke’s many signature animal works. In the last four years, Szőke has been impressively prolific. The range of his projects includes a 230-foot-long rocking horse, a dinosaur, and a 98-foot-long whale. “I still create these animals for the reason as before, I find this way to be the easiest for me to express myself. I love to tinker, I find great joy in creating objects that I can look upon as my own creatures.”