PHOTO ABOVE: This giant, shiny structure, known locally as ‘The Bean’, for obvious reasons, was constructed by Indian-born British artist and architect Anish Kapoor. Inspired by liquid mercury, the futuristic sculpture is made up of 168 highly polished pieces of stainless steel welded together and provides residents and tourists with plenty of photo opportunities. Despite many claiming that the modern sculpture could not feasibly be constructed and maintained, ‘Cloud Gate’ was completed in 2004 and formally dedicated to the city as a mainstay in 2006.
UNUSUAL PUBLIC SCULPTURES | Love them or loathe them, public sculptures are a key feature of most modern cities. Whether it’s to commemorate a historic event, add some aesthetic merit to a public square, or make an open space more appealing, successful public sculptures play a significant role in injecting a bit of character into their surroundings. Their importance means that getting them right is a daunting task for any artist involved in their creation. These unusual sculptures from cities around the world are all examples of when sculptors and artists, in the construction of their own works of public art, get it spot on.
1. LES VOYAGEURS – MARSEILLE, FRANCE
French artist Bruno Catalano created a series of eye-catching surreal sculptures which were dotted around the port of Marseille for the city’s European City of Culture 2013 celebrations. The work featured realistic bronze moulds of human workers going about their everyday business with large chunks of their bodies missing. The technical skill of the works, some of which appear to stand upright with very little support, along with the ethereal eeriness led to much praise for Catalano, leading him to becoming one of the most praised modern sculpture artists of the decade.
2. THE KELPIES – FALKIRK, SCOTLAND
Standing at 30 meters high on the outskirts of Falkirk, Scotland ‘The Kelpies’ were designed by sculptor Andy Scott to commemorate the use of horses in agriculture and industry which helped to shape the landscape of the surrounding area. The sculptures each weigh over 300 tons and are made up of thousands of individually crafted pieces of stainless steel. The Kelpies have quickly become regarded as one of the finest large-scale modern sculptures in the world.
3. SHOES ON THE DANUBE – BUDAPEST, HUNGARY
Film director Can Togay and Hungarian sculptor Gyula Pauer created this work to commemorate the Hungarian Jews that were executed by the Arrow Cross Fascist Militia during World War II. The Jewish people of the area were ordered to remove their shoes and were shot at the edge of the water so their bodies would fall into the river. This powerful bronze sculpture represents the shoes that they left behind.
4. GRAN ELEFANT DRET – BARCELONA, SPAIN
Spanish artist Miquel Barceló’s ‘Gran Elephant Dret’ (Great Elephant Standing) seems to defy gravity as the five ton solid bronze sculpture balances eight metres high on the thin point of the elephant’s trunk.
The sculpture, erected in Barcelona in 2009, proved yet again that Barceló’s advanced craftmanship and imagination after a series of high profile works, including decorating the ceiling of the UN’s Palace of Nations building.
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