Sculptures have often been used throughout time for many different reasons.
To make statements, interpret the world and start conversations and the following pieces are no exception. Although these examples come from different locations around the world, they all have something in common: the sculptors created the pieces as commentary on society and the human experience.
14 Big Laughing Men: Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Created by Chinese artist Yue Minjun, this 14-bare chested bronze men are roughly 8.5 feet tall and 550 pounds. They adorn a small park triangle and each feature the laughing face of the sculptor. Though referred to as “14 Big Laughing Men,” the actual name of the piece is A-maze-ing Laughter. The piece is located in Morton Park in Vancouver. It was originally created as part of the Vancouver International Sculpture Biennale, which exhibited international contemporary art in public spaces. The artist’s intent was to inspire laugher and playfulness in those who come to view the instillation.
Agora: Grant Park, Chicago, Illinois
Located on the far southwest side of Grant Park, Agora is an important cultural installation. Compromised of 106 nine-foot tall headless torsos and made of cast iron, the piece’s name comes from the Greek word for meeting place. Sculpted by internationally renowned artist Magdalena Abakanowics, they figures have a deeply personal meaning for the artist. She has stated that she was deeply affected by World War II and the forty-five years of Soviet domination that followed. She became impacted by the idea of collective hate and collective adulation and by the way people worshiped leaders who turned out to be mass murderers. The headless statues represent the way in which instincts and emotions overpower the human intellect without us even being aware that it is happening. The instillation can be seen at the corner of East Randolph Drive and South Michigan Avenue in downtown Chicago.
People of the River: Singapore
Located along the Singapore River Walkway are multiple bronze sculptures which represent various points in the city’s history. The sculptures include a gathering of merchants, kids jumping into the river, and a collection of animals. Unique in both their placement and subject matter the sculptures are meant to create dialogue about the present and the history of the city. One particularly interesting sculpture represents a modern day male tycoon in his three piece suit, seated in front of two male statues in traditional dress that represent the merchants of the past. It is a prefect representation of a city that seeks to balance modern day life with traditional values.