As anyone who has ever dicked around with Play-Doh knows, sculpting is fucking hard: If you aspire to create anything but crude dongs, the level of planning and technical skill it takes to bring a passable statue into existence is downright insane. With this in mind, you'd assume that talented statue folks use their power to create wonders, which is precisely what some of them do.
However, there are ... others. Time and time again, we keep bumping into statues that prove that a whole bunch of sculptors are clearly using every single ounce of their talent to troll the world as hard as they possibly can.
#10. Verity -- Devon, Great Britain
Matt Cardy/Getty Images News/Getty Images
If you feel like punching a wall whenever you see the words "modern art," chances are it's because you've seen the works of Damien Hirst. He's the dude behind famous, critically esteemed works such as Isn't That Just a Fucking Shark in a Formaldehyde Tank? and Who the Hell Tries to Sell a Diamond-Covered Fake Skull for $84 Million? As such, he's probably the last person in existence who should be allowed to decorate things like, say, the piers of quaint small towns.
At least that's what someone must have said a few years ago, because right on cue, a small English town called Ilfracombe stood up and said: "Hey, have you guys noticed that we're a quaint small town? Wouldn't that Damien Hirst dude be the perfect guy to decorate our pier?"
And that, dear reader, is why the world now has Verity: a giant 2013 sculpture of a half-flayed pregnant woman that looks for all the world like a prop from Hannibal. This 66-foot bronze "allegory for truth and justice" stands facing the sea with a stance that's less "welcome to our little English town" and more "I'm going to punch the very concept of your spleen if you dock." Oh, and it's also brandishing a sword that's as big as the rest of the statue.
Matt Cardy/Getty Images News/Getty Images On a positive note, ain't no one going to invade them by sea in a hurry.
In the Swedish city of Malmo, there is a light that never goes out. Too bad said light comes in the form of a giant-ass table lamp that switches spots seemingly at will and whispers to passersby in a broken, not-quite-Swedish subliminal language of mayhem:
"Ia! Ia! R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn bork bork bork!"
The Giant Lamp of Malmo is a 19-foot inexplicably popular sculpture that tours the squares of the city as the year progresses, only to return to its headquarters at Lilla Torg Square for Christmas. The words "ritual" and "blood" don't feature in the description, but considering that this is a country that habitually pulls a (hopefully mostly Nic Cage-less) Wicker Man with a giant goat sculpture most Christmastimes, it's pretty safe to assume they're heavily implied.
The Russian town of Zheleznovodsk is famed for its iron-rich mineral springs, and the many wonderful spas that bring this miracle of nature to the people. As such, it was no surprise that the town wanted to honor the source of their wealth with a statue dedicated to the specialty of Zheleznovodsk spa culture: the enema.
Via Jaunted They used to have a statue of a douche, but it attracted too many pickup artists.
Shaped as a massive rectal bulb syringe held aloft by Botticcellian cherubs, this bronze sculpture greets the visitors near the gates of the town's largest spa. Sadly, the story doesn't elaborate on whether said spa has had a single visitor since this loving homage was erected.
So you're walking the historic streets of Prague, enjoying the fine spring weather, and suddenly your gaze lands on a worrying sight. Holy shit, there's a dude hanging for dear life from a beam that's inexplicably dangling from a rooftop! Uncertain of whether you're witnessing a scene in a James Bond movie or a tragic situation just a few minutes away from ending up as sidewalk splatter, you spring into action and call the authorities.
A few minutes later, a cop strolls over and gives you an enthusiastic slap over the head. Congratulations! You've just become the 367th person this month alone to let Prague's sculpture of Sigmund Freud fool you.
Via Bestourism It's called Man Hanging Out, because lame puns are the only thing Prague loves more than scaring people.
Apart from routinely confusing the shit out of first-time visitors to Prague, Man Hanging Out is a representation of Freud's struggle with his phobias and fear of mortality. It's also the work of famous Czech artist/troll David Cerny, who is rapidly turning into something of a personal nemesis: No matter how I promise myself I'll avoid him this time, his work just keeps popping up every time I do one of these articles. In fact, let's take this thing somewhere there's no way of bumping into his work whatsoever. Say ... Australia.
Australia has the virtual monopoly on creatures that can scar our mental and physical capacities merely by saying "Boo." The thing you may not know is that somewhere down the line the continent apparently just said "screw it" and started building giant effigies for all creatures great and small that may or may not be able to murder them in some manner, up to and very much including pineapples.
The Big Lobster is the king of said statues. It's a massive construct 59 feet tall, 45 feet wide, and 50 feet long that depicts what is either a lobster or a hitherto unknown kaiju species that Australia has thus far been able to hide from the rest of the world in order to keep luring tourists in, much like Mayor Vaughn did in Jaws.
The last time you and your sweet grandmother visited the cultured city of Nuremberg didn't go quite as planned, as the local "Fountain of Virtue" turned out to be the sort of lactation frenzy most niche porn companies could only hope to deliver. This time, you've decided to play it safe. Apart from strictly PG-rated galleries and churches, your only point of interest is going to be the sculpture made in honor of Grandma's favorite painting, Albrecht Durer's The Young Hare:
Quick: What's worse than a 75-foot steel statue that looks like the doomsday weapon of a Bond villain? That's right, a 75-foot doomsday statue that moves.
Floralis Generica is a giant 23-meter-tall metal flower/murder beam pedestal that was built and donated to the city of Buenos Aires by architect Eduardo Catalano. Its giant steel petals open and close, depending on the time of day. During the dark hours, the sculpture emits an ominous red light that is supposed to appear comforting, but is clearly just waiting to blast passing superheroes out of the sky.
Via ChessBase If there's not an evil lair under this thing yet, I'm calling dibs.
The artist says the sculpture "is a synthesis of all the flowers and is both a hope that is reborn every day to open," which we can only assume is the code phrase for opening the door of the giant vault underneath Floralis Generica that controls its death ray.
#3. Transi de Rene de Chalon -- Bar-le-Duc, France
When you're visiting a random church in a small village in Northern France, you expect to see the stuff you see in most old churches: crosses, paintings, a few statues of saints ... that sort of thing. That's precisely what you'll see in Bar-le-Duc's Saint-Etienne church. Well, that and a fucking zombie monster, just gleefully hanging about in a place of honor, arm raised to meet the sky like the world's cheesiest Shakespearean actor.
This statue is the memorial of Rene de Chalon, a 16th century prince, who had a hunch he'd die in his 20s (it was a turbulent time) and made a special request to be depicted this way postmortem. Local history books do their level best to write this off as an artistic choice meant to represent "doing right by God even after death." However, let's be honest here: The dude was a wealthy 20-something -- there's no way this was anything but a particularly inspired trolling idea someone in his entourage came up with at 4 a.m.
#2. Genghis Khan -- Mongolia
So you have become weary of the strain of modern life and decide to turn over a new leaf in the farthest, most quiet corner of the world you can imagine. Your travels take you to Mongolia's grassy plains, where you happily wander for days. Finally, you are content.
Then, suddenly, you see something massive looming on the horizon, and things get fucking metal.
The 131-foot equestrian statue of Genghis Khan is located over an hour's drive from Mongolia's capital city in the middle of utter nowhere, creating an effect not unlike taking a walk on the moon and bumping into the Statue of Liberty. The Khan calmly gazes upon the plains it controls, much like its tiny fleshling counterpart did all those years ago. The look on its face is that of grim satisfaction, because your natural enemies are few and far between when you're a giant stainless steel construct in the middle of rural landscape.
What I love about this statue is how they've clearly made an effort to depict the rider figure as a smoothly featured human being, but no one felt the need to make the horse anything but sharp, vaguely equine steampunk angles and pure utilitarian power, like one of those machine steeds He-Man and Skeletor sometimes ride. Yes, this is giant Genghis Khan on a giant robot hell-horse, and yes, it is expecting you to run now.
Jesus Christ, world. Are you throwing huge man-made spiders at us again? We've had this discussion before -- we don't need any massive artificial arachnids, we already have Australia to supply the non-existing demand for the real thing a hundred million times over.
Still, because we live in a terrible world, here's Maman, a 30-foot-high spider ... fucking ... thing that lurks the courtyards and alleyways of, well, absolutely everywhere. Not only is your average Maman a traveling exhibition, but there are also at least half a dozen of them around, meaning that during any given moment these things roam several countries at once. Now, keep that in mind as we explore its egg sac:
Via Panoramio Yes, of course it has an absurdly detailed, ready-to-burst egg sac. It's almost as if you've never seen a horror movie.
Born from the mind of sculptor Louise Bourgeois, Maman is subject to many an analysis about the nature of humanity and the position of spiders in culture. Judging by the statue's looks alone, the answer to the former is most likely "snacks," and to the latter, "in charge."