Our top 10 monumental sculptures
Real engineering feats, the biggest sculptures never cease to amaze. They make us consider our insignificance – being as oversized as they are – as much as they invite us to contemplate our infinite world. Their big volumes often contribute to convey strong messages, that the artists are thus able to express fully. We viewers discover these artworks at varying scales, from afar to up, close and personal, which also allows us to explore our relationship to space and dimensions. Hardly possible to miss, here are 10 monumental sculptures that intrigue us and are nevertheless part of our visual landscape.
1. Maman, Louise Bourgeois
The strength of this emblematic work by Louise Bourgeois resides in the unusual association of the spider to the maternal figure. Standing at 9 meters, this rather frightening sculpture questions the notion of protective space and the role of the mother, “as intelligent, patient, clean and useful, reasonable and indispensable as a spider” according to Bourgeois.
2. Sky Mirror, Anish Kapoor
This concave mirror 6 meters wide and weighing in at 10 tons was conceived by the famed Anish Kapoor. Full of poetry, this work almost literally throws us into the immensity of the skies overhead. Transforming with the seasons, it fits perfectly into its environment, to our greatest pleasure.
3. The Angel of the North, Antony Gormley
21 meters tall, this angel entirely made of steel reflects great freedom. Its wings are not completely straight which creates a slight effect of embrace. Gromley gives this angel three functions : one of memorial of the miners that lost their lives in the hills beneath, another of celebration of the transition to the information era and a third of hope for the future.
4. Boy, Ron Mueck
This young adolescent in gargantuan proportions stares at us with the most troubling look. His height of 4.5 meters creates a sort of unease because of the way Ron Mueck managed to produce an exact copy of reality that stays true to it down to the smallest vein. Somewhere in between real and impossible, this sculpture is a disturbing ode to the human body.
5. Spoonbridge and cherry, Claes Oldenburg
A partisan of the Pop art movement, Oldenburg is known for his monumental installations that are XXL replicas of ordinary objects. A safety pin, a shuttlecock, or even an ice cream cone : he creates sculptures that make us discover everyday things with a newborn eye. Here, a mere spoon and cherry tower over us in an unlikely balance.
6. Understanding, Martin Creed
These enormous neon letters that are 7 meters high spell out a word that Creed says “is more possible than love and peace because it includes what is not possible”. This is the understanding we need in this world but also the understanding every artist searches for. In any case, with its bright red hue, this sculpture captivates our attention and questions our current reality.
7. Figolu, Mark Di Suvero
A supporter of the abstract expressionism movement, Mark di Suvero uses a variety of geometrical forms to create sculptures full of movement. By toying with steel, he was also able to have his works “sing” which makes them all the more astounding.
8. Charlie Brown, Richard Serra
Clocking in at 18 meters in height, Charlie Brown, an explicit reference to the iconic american comics character, fascinates us in its minimalism. These heavy plaques of steel with their rust color form elongated curved lines that give this imposing structure a certain delicate touch.
9. Hammering Man, Jonathan Borofsky
The Hammering Man represent a laborer at work, a figure which is at the heart of society according to Borofsky. In this series that made him famous, Borofsky uses a simple outline to express a much more complex reality. One of the version of this artwork is motorized such as this man with no face hammers without rest. Through this movement and its flat aspect, this sculpture seems like the shadow of a true fact…
10. Elogio del Horizonte, Eduardo Chillida
This massive stone sculpture plays on empty and full spaces thus creating an unexpected harmony. The light and shadow effects that result from the either curved either rectangular cuts give even more texture to this work of Chillida – work that is very true to its name as it skillfully invites us to contemplate the horizon.
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