The world is full of impressive and imposing monuments, celebrating the culture and history of region or commemorating an individual of importance. Whilst many of the world’s monuments may have an important and sincere message, others simply do not. Others are put there to confuse, baffle and even anger passersby. This blog will celebrate those landmarks; the world’s strangest monuments.
Melbourne, Australia – Upside Down Charles la Trobe
Melbourne sculptor Charles Robb decided to make a statement when he came to design the statue of Victoria’s first lieutenant-governor Charles la Trobe that was to be placed outside of the La Trobe University in Melbourne’s Bundoora district. In an attempt to embody the notion that universities should turn ideas on their heads, he literally turned the 5 metre tall statue on its head, to create a striking up-side down monument. Although the statue is not a particularly subtle metaphor, it does draw attention and has sparked much debate on campus.
Los Angeles, USA – Ballerina Clown
Los Angeles is well-known for its strange occurrences and even stranger residents. So it won’t surprise you to know the city is home to one of America’s strangest monuments. Jonathon Borofsky’s ‘Ballerina Clown’ is a 9 metre tall sculpture of – well – a ballerina clown. This loopy landmark has been installed above a pharmacy near to the famous Venice Beach and its creator has explained the reason behind the work. Borofsky has claimed that the sculpture encapsulates the idea that Venice boardwalk is full of all kinds of people and the sculpture is an ‘accommodation or resolution of opposites in one’. We like the idea of embracing diversity but this monument is still a little creepy.
Shanghai, China – Miguelin
Originally created for the Shanghai World Expo is 2010, Miguelin is 6.5 metre tall sculpture of a baby. This might sound fairly boring, until you realise that this sculpture blinks, breaths, smiles at passersby and dreams of the cities we leave to our future generations – apparently. The monument was the brainchild (get it?) of Spanish film director Isabel Coixet, who explained the inspiration behind the big baby as the passion that Spain and China share for kids and as a way of demonstrating that our actions have consequences for our children. The baby is very lifelike and impressive but nappy changing may raise some issues!
Buenos Aires, Argentina – Floralis Generica
Located in Buenos Aires’ Plaza de las Naciones Unidas is Floralis Generica, a 23 metre tall, 18 ton sculpture of a flower made of steel and aluminium. What makes this sculpture especially intriguing, however, is that it behaves like a real flower, opening each morning at 8am and closing at sunset, even changing its behaviour depending on the seasons. The monument was created by local architect Eduardo Catalano, who once described the flower as ‘a synthesis of all the flowers and a hope that is reborn everyday to open’. Interestingly, on four special nights – May 25th, September 21st, December 24th and December 31st – the flower stays open for the entire night.
Oslo, Norway – Frogner Park Babyfighter
Finally, we come to arguably one of the strangest monuments on this list and perhaps even the world. Scattered throughout Frogner Park in Olso is the Vigeland Sculpture Arrangement, a unique and often absurd collection of statues depicting characters in a series of weird and not so wonderful situations. Possibly the most disturbing of the collection is the Babyfighter statue, which portrays a grown man seemingly fighting with several infants. After searching for the meaning behind this monument, we came up with very little other than theories. Some people say it is a metaphor for casting off the shackles of childhood, others say it is just a bloke beating on a bunch of children. If anyone out there has any more details on why this statue exists, please let me know in the comments section because I am completely baffled.
(1) resascup – wikimedia.org
(2) Hans Peter Schaefer – wikimedia.org
(3) Chrisitan van der Henst – flickr.com
(4) Luis Esnal – flickr.com
(5) Adam Heath – flickr.com