Graffiti Extraordinaire in a City Extraordinaire - KesterTester49 (Updated more clues, KT48 Results)
Updated: Aug 29
This CEE city is historically home to a mix of at least four recognised nationalities, perhaps six if Roma and a sprinkling of remaining Jews are counted separately. It's also seen a strong immigrant minority arriving in the past 25 years. It is, to boot, home to some genuinely talented graffiti artists. But where could it be?
Photo: This was one of maybe 10-12 examples of creative, intelligent graffiti on dilapidated buildings near the city centre in 2010. I suspect it's succumbed to development since, because the municipal fathers will have seen it necessary to gentrify their urbis in the past decade.
I am not normally a fan of graffiti, most of which I view as self-indulgent, painted clap trap that some individuals feel they have the right to impose on the public in general and property owners in particular. But the artwork on display in one of my favourite cities in the region that I stumbled upon in 2010 was, in my eyes, thoughtful and truly remarkable. Were it in a "trendy" western city, such as Paris or Barcelona, I suspect there would be several coffee table books featuring it some years ago already.
The local artists were also gentlemanly (or ladylike) enough to avoid inhabited buildings, concentrating only on abandoned hulks.
But this city has more than stunning graffiti going for it. The people are, arguably, of a special social-socialising nature, which has been the basis of their survival, success and modest fame. (I think it could be the theme of a PhD in social anthropology I might take up .... in another life.)
But where could it be? I've given some clues, but I must admit it's still a tough one - and for me too, to give the right clues without making it easy. I'll leave it until Sunday, and then publish another pic (not of more graffiti) and maybe another clue to help you on your way.
Oh, and my apologies. I missed putting out a KesterTester last week, which means you've had two weeks to fathom the answer to KT48 - The Socialist-Realist Renoir artwork. I've had a couple of correct answers, but thought you'd do better. The EU-Approved Black-Woolly Hat likes a real contest, with a few numbers in it for the draw, so you have until tomorrow to get your answer in and win the chance of fame, fortune and the right to buy me (who is otherwise almost tea-total) a couple of beers.
(OK, I admit it, there is a least one falsehood in the last sentence, but you don't win any prizes for spotting it.)
Answers to KesterTesters please via the website messaging system or email. Have a good weekend!
UPDATE 1: As I suspected, it seems we need some more clues to oil readers' neurosystems on KT49. So first, another photo.
Photo: I suppose this wolf-like creature (?) is this city's equivalent to the Magyar's Turul bird, or something along those lines. It's in the main square. Not sure if there are more clues in the background.
Now, what other clues might I give that don't give the whole game away? Well, the city had a modestly famous football club that played in an unusual colours (I mean, historically - not counting the modern mish-mash of strips that has emerged on the scene in the past two decades.) If I remember correctly, the team played both Glasgow Celtic and West Ham United in European cup games in former glory days - that was before various falls into administration and oligarch-driven takeovers.
Probably not a very useful clue to most folks in here, however.
Now this city, in its Tourist Office blurb, claims to be the first in Europe to have xxxxxxx. But I'm suspicious of all such claims, and a check via google indeed appears to reveal this one is less than fully true. OK, let's be blunt: it's false. So we won't go there.
However, the city certainly did have its five minutes of fame - or rather five days would be more accurate - when it truly did make global headlines for a series of events that would make the history books. I really can't say more, or it would become too easy. You'll have to think yerselves from here on in. Happy Sleuthing!
UPDATE 2 - The results of KT48
The artwork of KT48 and associated text certainly inspired some creative thinking among this blog's many bright minds.
Alan Sutton, who is reportedly having to fight his way to work each morning as fans besiege his flat for selfies after his brilliant effort to not only identify, but place the location of the “Lukoil” carpet in the previous Tester, wrote in:
"Your clues would suggest Gödöllö railway station. I've been there but not inside the station buildings - which have been up for repairs the last few years."
Gödöllő? Really. I shall have to look carefully next time I'm there as to why, Alan. You've not sleuthed it correctly this time, I'm afraid. But good luck getting to work next week.
Steve Soley wondered if it might be the [Great] October Revolution in a Moscow subway, then adding “Doesn't it make your heart throb to see this emotion evoking art form?”
Not a bad try, Steven, but afraid it's not Russia. It is true, however, that this painting and the whole hall where it is located is truly quite magnificent, in my humble opinion.
Les Szabo opined that it must be “in or near the railway museum” - meaning the one in District III, I presume, and Tom Chilton, who is usually very sharp on these things, wrote: “I think the latest Kester Tester is the painting in the royal waiting room at Nyugati pu.”
I must confess, the logic here rather flummoxes me, Tom – certainly if you consider it is some form of socialist-realist art. I mean, in the royal waiting room?
I have been in there (although that was in 1989!) but I can't remember anything like this. If anything, I suspect that room depicts Emp-King Franz Joszef arriving in Budapest in all his glory, surrounded by thousands of adoring Magyar subjects – or something like that.
Michael Roddy, writing all the way from Dublin, chipped in: “Szekesfehervar focsarnok, de nem tudom a festo neve... szia”
And then the floodgates opened.
László Ludmann confessed to using google, writing “as I have never been to Székesfehérvár railway station. That is my frank answer for your tempting offer.”
Viktor Friedmann didn't need to resort to googling. “It is in the railway station of my great hometown, Stuhlweissenburg, also known as Alba Regia. Proof in the attached images. (see below)
And Steven Nelson was also a confident contestant. “Steven When I read the subject line of your email, I thought, "I hope it's the painting in the Székesfehérvár Rail Station." I was not disappointed!
Steven kindly added a link (in Hungarian) to the history of the works.
More info here: https://www.kozterkep.hu/14957/figuralis-pannok
Székesfehérvár station hall really is worth visiting if you are in the area. If heading towards Budapest by train, you can always jump off for 10 minutes, take a look around and get on another train – the service is pretty frequent.
But what about the winner? (I can feel the tension out there.) Michael Roddy's answer put me in a difficult spot, as the city is correct, but it's not actually the "focsarnok" Michael, as in 'main covered market'. I suppose you meant the railway station "main hall", but you didn't actually write that.
I tell you what, I'll give you one number in the black-woolly hat, and the other three contestants get two numbers each. That makes you number 5, Michael.
OK, now I'll do the actual draw and ...... drum roll ..... the winner is number 7 - and that means a new life of heady global fame, incessant selfie demands and having to run from adoring fans awaits .... László Ludmann!!
Well done, László - there is also the crowning prize, of course - the privilege of buying me two beers! Have a good week fighting off the fans, László.
And here are Viktor Friedmann's photos he sent me illustrating the grandeur of his local station.
Photo: This is the artwork on the south side of the hall, above the booking office windows. Viktor Friedmann
Photo: I suppose this staircase leads up to the mezzanine/first floor. Viktor Friedmann
Photo: The splendid railway scene from which the KesterTester image was drawn, on the north side of the grand hall. Viktor Friedmann
Thank you for the contributions, everyone. Now you can start sleuthing on KT49, and have a good week!