Rieger Tibor

rieger_tibor-1“ The coronation robe: it is a miracle! Only a few stone carving of the time of Stephen the Saint have survived — and then, here is a thousand-year-old textile, the most sensitive material…” It is a relique, richly embroidered with gold. Time-stained, but wearing makes it more mystic. Imagine the ceremony, when King Stephen and Queen Gisela passed this cultic ornate to the Székesfehérvár cathedral, processing with dignity among the people, and then spreading out the robe on the altar ceremoniously.”

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This precious treasure of the National Museum is displayed now under glass. In the protective subdued light you can hardly enjoy its beauty, although its pattern evokes the first years of our state. He would not let the matter rest, so he made a hard decision: everybody should see this important national treasure. “ The sculptor must work even if he has not commission”

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(photo: design of a gate at the Pannonhalma Abbey)

The mere copying was out of question, the robe needed to transform to bronze. Not only the details of the weaving techniques had to be evaluated and transferred to space, but the prophets, the saints and the apostles, even Christ and the royal family had to receive personality and face as well. And, at the end, the opus had a particular wandering.  Just now it is at the Buda Castle, on the Kapisztrán Square. “ It did not find its permanent location. I made it, and its duty to find its due place” – he says.

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“At a sculptor’s studio is not much to see” – he said receiving us at a windy, stormy afternoon – “some sketches, reduced-size models, several tools”. So we looked for signals. On the wall, who is at the old photos? “ They are my maternal grandparents, and their youngest son, lost at the Don Bend battle in 1943.” What else you need as more reliable source to create the memorial of the victims of World War II?

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When a sculptor receives an order connected to a historical event, he needs professional rationality, idea and emotion together. „ I could depict Vilmos Apor, the martyr bishop with hands casting up or kneeling, praying to God. But the Bishop of Győr, despite the threat, was not willing to give the girls and young women, refuged at his church, over to the Soviet soilders (to „peeling potato”, but, in fact, for sexual abuse). Bishop Apor’s ultimate message of his martyrdom and his life is that everyone has to sacrifice.”

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The late WWII Hungarian premier, Pál Teleki, was facing a serious decision, and although the historians are considering differently his personality and role, the facts remain facts.

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After all, how can be decided whether a sculpture is successful or not? „ Maybe that something will stand the test of time. If I complete something, I think that perhaps it is good, perhaps it is wrong. Nowadays it is a hard job to evaluate anything. There is no outstanding quality without to be called into question, and there is no bullshit without audience giving a cheer.”

rieger_tibor-20Szent Márton Award (2013)





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