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unusual inhabitants

The ancient Colossus of Rhodes, the hugely popular Statue of Liberty, or the Polish Christ the King statue that’s 3 meters taller than Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro – what could they possibly have in common, other than scale? Well, it’s also about they way they change the area where they are erected. We invite you to a quick overview of city sculptures and statues, which not only drive tourist traffic but also have a significant impact on the overall looks of the surrounding urban fabric.

Anish Kapoor Cloud Gate, Millennium Park, Chicago, USA

The perfectly smooth, mirrory surface makes this work look more like an unidentified flying object from outer space than the work of human hands. As it turns out, the artist was simply inspired by mercury (the element). Something so ordinary has been transformed into one of the world’s most famous works of modern art! What is remarkable about this sculpture is that it reflects the changing times of the day and year, which is why it never looks exactly the same.

Louise Bourgeois Maman, National Gallery, Ottawa, Canada

This sculpture is certainly not an easy watch for those suffering from arachnophobia. It’s an 9-meter high sculpture of a spider with giant legs, with marble eggs hanging loose from its fishnet belly. The first sculpture was commissioned by London’s Tate Modern. In the following years, the artist created a whole series of huge spiders that can be found in museums around the world. Although the sculpture can easily give the shivers, the artist claims the spider is a symbol of a mother who takes care of the home and creates family bonds.

Igor Mitoraj Icarus, Valley of the Temples, Agrigento, Italy

This Polish artist is known for his large-scale sculptures referencing ancient culture. His portrayals of Icarus, Eros, Centaur and Mars catch the eye not only because of their classic beauty but also because of the way they blend with space. An excellent example is Icarus located in the Valley of the Temples in Agrigento. The statue lies there as if it fell from the sky just now – with its limbs broken off and its wing broken.

Damien Hirst, Verity, Ilfracombe, United Kingdom

As is usual for this artist, his statue measuring over 20 meters has been generating lot of controversy. Looking at it from one side, we see a naked pregnant woman holding a sword and a pair of scales – universal symbols of justice and truth. But looking at it from the other side, we see that the woman has her muscles and internal organs exposed, as if it were an anatomical model, with a fetus developing inside of her. Interestingly, both the face and stance of the woman bear strong resemblance to Edgar Degas’s little dancer sculpture.

Tadeusz Kantor, Chair, Wroclaw, Poland

The chair, like the umbrella, was a handy resource for the artist. Being an object of everyday use, it is devoid of any value and that’s what made it so interesting for Kantor. A huge chair, abandoned somewhere out there, was supposed to surprise the viewers with its absurdity – its ‘being out of place’ – while at the same time add an artistic touch to the surrounding area. The Wrocław chair is not the only such project. Another one is located next to Kantor’s private house in Hucisko, near Krakow.

Alexander Calders The Flamingo, Federal Plaza, Chicago, USA

Large red metal sculptures are this artist’s hallmark. Against the background of gray streets and glazed skyscrapers, structures like this cannot but attract attention – in terms of both color and abstract form, which are hard to walk by indifferently. They are an excellent example of how contemporary art can adorn urban space, giving it a unique character. Calders’ sculptures can be found, among other places, in Portugal, Germany, United States, Canada, and France.

  • Chares from Lindos "The Colossus of Rhodes", Rhodes, Greece