Treating Landscape Injuries with Art

Volcanoes Park, Zalahaláp

Sculptors: Rhea Marmentini, Zoltán Balanyi
Text: Balázs Szász
Photos: Rhea Marmentini, Zoltán Balanyi

Born in a family of doctors and artists, Chilean-Hungarian sculptor Rhea Marmentini started to realize one of her long-time dream at the meeting point of Mediterranean and continental climates: to reconstruct a wound on the landscape of Haláp Hill, a former 34 acre basalt mine. Marmentini’s former large-scale project was the cure of yet another landscape wound in Gilet, Spain, where she had a sculpture-house named El Dragon de la Calderona. The project in Zalaháp is a cooperation with her fellow artist, Zoltán „Zozó” Balanyi. Basalt has been mined in Haláp since World War I, and the mine was used up until 2015 after its modernization in 1950 and the introduction of large-scale industrial production technologies. During a century of its existence, a total of appr. 50 billion tons of stone had been removed from the hill. The owner of the site Bazalt-Középkő Kőbányák Ltd. is open to the intentions of artists and provided access to it. The tandem of sculptors started work in July this year to complete the first monumental sculptures. As a result of their cooperation, the exhibition titled An Awakening Volcano was opened in August. At the inauguration 8 monumental works of art were installed in the spacious valley. And this is only the prelude: the long-run goal is to create an artists colony and a Volcano park of international significance.