Comments on a cultural reality between past and future.

This blog describes Metatime in the Posthuman experience, drawn from Sir Isaac Newton's secret work on the future end of times, a tract in which he described Histories of Things to Come. His hidden papers on the occult were auctioned to two private buyers in 1936 at Sotheby's, but were not available for public research until the 1990s.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Amazing Statues and Sculptures

Space Elephant by Salvador Dalí Image (15 April 2008) © picqero. Reproduced with kind permission.

Caption for the above photograph: The famous Space Elephant sculpture by Salvador Dalí, which stands on the River Thames embankment outside County Hall, London. The elephant is a distorted body in outer space, with its 20 foot spindly legs representing weightlessness with structure. On its back it carries a pyramid shaped obelisk, which symbolises power. This strange sculpture is actually based on an earlier painting, by Dali, called 'the Temptation of St. Anthony', in which various temptations are symbolised by animals.

For today's post, see statues which combine the old and the new. Salvador Dalí's London Space Elephant (above) is about the temptation of power. His 'celestial elephant' sketch for the piece is on sale here. You can read more about his sculptures here. Below, Lion 2 by Yong Ho Ji is probably my favourite.

Lion 2 (2008) by Yong Ho Ji, 390 x 122 x 190 cm, stainless steel and used tires. Image Source: cartzo via Redditpics.

The same sculpture, on display at Chatsworth House, Derbyshire, UK. Image Source: Digitalhen.

The Grandees by Philip Jackson. Image (19 June 2011) Leonce49 by via Wiki.

Ceramic Waste and Monkeys. "A Modern Equivalent of the Taj Made from Recycled Materials." Nek Chand's Chandigarh Rock Garden, India. Image (1 December 2007) © appaji via Flickr.  For another photo, go here.

Caption for the above photograph: "Nek Chand’s well-hidden secret came out in 1975, when authorities planning to extend the city’s boundaries stumbled upon this treasure in the jungle. The sensational news of the discovery spread quickly through the city. Although built illegally, the government took the stance of nationalizing the area – called “Rock Garden” thenceforth – and appointed Nek Chand its “Creator-Director”. He was allotted some staff to maintain and continue development of the garden, a task Nek Chand could finally devote his full time to. In 1984, the President of India awarded him the Padma Shri for his contribution to art. Today the Rock Garden attracts around 3000 visitors each day. It is the second most visited site in India next only to the Taj Mahal."

Shanghai artist Zhang Huan beat Lady Gaga to the punch with his 2002 muscle suit made of meat, entitled, My New York #4 (obviously the source of her idea for her meat dress).  Below are two of his pieces, Three Legged Buddha and Three Heads Six Arms; you can read more about Three Heads Six Arms, which was commissioned for display in San Francisco, here.

On Zhang's Buddha, the blog, The Buddha's Face says: "[The] Three Legged Buddha modern art sculpture has been created and inaugurated by the Chinese artist Zhang Huan and is located at the Storm King Art Center just outside New York. During the Cultural Revolution in the 1960's in mainland China there were concerted attempts made by the Chinese authorities to stamp out religion and as a consequence many Buddha statues and Buddhist artifacts were destroyed. The monumental statue is made out of pieces of these destroyed Buddha statues that were damaged and broken and conserved by Chines[e] Buddhists and others over the preceding decades." You can read more about him here.

Three Legged Buddha (2007) by Zhang Huan, Welded copper with steel inner frame, 8.6m high. Image Source: Art Info.

The same piece, on display at the Royal Academy.

Three Heads Six Arms (2008) by Zhang Huan, copper. Image Source: TeachArtWiki.

Another young Chinese artist with a similar name is Hebei native, Zhang Hua, whom I stumbled across while looking for Zhang Huan's works.  Below are a set of running figures, some of his Giacometti-esque stick-statues which are nonetheless intensely relatable. Singapore Art Gallery comments:
Also part of the exhibition are the sculptural works of of Zhang Hua. Childhood games and dreams are the common themes of his works. The figures are almost always characterised by elongated limbs and necks, with an open-mouthed facial expression. Movement is suggested with the flowing lines of lithe bodies. Even still figures, such as the slender girl seated on a plank of ‘Longing’, too, are engrossing in their introspective moods. In all of Zhang Hua's sculptures there is a certain gaiety and, perhaps, innocence, too. Imagination takes flight and it is easy to drift into these simple worlds. ... Zhang Hua’s sculptures appear [to be] light ... like impressions of dreams that are about to disappear when we open our eyes. ... Zhang Hua received his [training] at the Central Academy of Fine Arts and has been exhibiting his works for almost a decade now. His works have received many awards and accolades, most recently the Silver Prize at the Beijing Olympic Landscape Sculpture Competition, and are also seen at public spaces in China and South Korea.
Image Source: Singapore Art Gallery.

Creative Swimmer Statue, London Inc. (2007), 46 feet long, 10 feet high, painted polystyrene. Images Source: Opox Magazine.

Ah, Millennial advertising. The giant swimmer in the lawn on the banks of the Thames above (right next to London Bridge) was made to publicize a new Reality TV show in 2007.  The show was called London Inc. on The Discovery Channel.

Spiral Rounded Loop (2011) by Zénó Kelemen. Image Source: Art Info.

Sculptures like the one above were displayed on a manmade lake in Budapest this past summer to mark the end of Hungary's presidency of the EU. The reviewer at Art Info wasn't sure whether the sculptures would stand on their own without the gimmick of being positioned on the water, but decided in the end that that was part of their artistry.


  1. Hi ToB - great post... when thinking of other cool monumental sculptures, a link Sarah Multiverse had up on Macbots immediately came to mind - "Abandoned Soviet Monuments":

  2. Yeah, I reposted some of those on here at some point. Thanks for the link though - Yugoslavia, lost in time...