Andrea Hausold - Dec 16, 2019
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Many cities boast buildings, parks, museums, skyscrapers and shopping centers to attract tourism. But art also comes into play, and there are impressive modern sculptures that can be found outdoors to be enjoyed by everyone. The following ten sculptures around the globe are a way to meet innovative works of public art that impress by their beauty, but also by how their designs portray a delicate balance that defies the law of gravity. Tourism Review takes you to explore these fabulous modern sculptures.

Statue of Franz Kafka (Prague)

Czech sculptor Jaroslav Róna paid tribute to Franz Kafka in his hometown with work reminiscent of the author’s first novel, Amerika. The sculpture depicts Franz Kafka riding on the shoulders of a headless and handless giant, entirely made of bronze.  It was completed in 2003.

Botero Sculptures (Medellin)

The Colombian city of Medellin is not only the birthplace of the famous sculptor Fernando Botero, but also a home of his 23 sculptures, that can be found at the Botero Plaza. Voluptuous ladies, fat cats, portly Roman soldiers, and chubby men on even chunkier horses – all of them are admired by the locals as well as visitors who may have seen Boteros’ other work along the Park Avenue in New York, or the Champs-Élysées in Paris. Installed on the Plaza in 2003 as a part of urban renewal, all the 23 sculptures were donated by Botero himself.

The Force of Nature (London)

Italian sculptor Lorenzo Quinn is famous for the complexity of his sculptures, which look seemingly frozen in movement. Inspired by the destructive force of hurricanes, The Force of Nature portrays a woman in a veil that holds planet Earth as if it were a stone in a sling.


The Travelers (Marseille)

With this sculpture, French artist Bruno Catalano reminds us that Marseille was and still is one of the entrances and exits to hundreds of thousands of people: both emigrants who left France in search of a better future, as well as immigrants who arrived on the coasts of the country running from wars and misery. It depicts two men with a tanned face staring into nothing, part of their bodies and arms missing in a technical and artistic feat.

Shoes on the Danube Bank (Budapest)

In 2005, film director Can Togay and sculptor Gyula Pauer reminded mankind that hundreds of Hungarians were killed in the Holocaust. All of them were ordered to leave their shoes on the bank of the Danube River, before boarding the trains that took them to the concentration camps. 60 years later, several bronze shoes honor the owners who never returned.

First Generation (Singapore)

This is another sculpture that looks frozen in movement. Artist Chong Fah Cheong sculpted a group of five children jumping into the Singapore River, with two of them suspended in the air. The work was commissioned by the Singapore Tourism Board and has become one of the most photographed modern sculptures in the country.

Maman (Bilbao)

Although in Bilbao everyone knows this sculpture as ‘the spider of the Guggenheim’, this gigantic arachnid of ten meters high and quite large in diameter is named Maman (‘Mother’), and it is a tribute of the artist Louise Bourgeois to her mother. Bourgeois’ works often express fear, anguish, and even jealousy, but in the case of the famous spider of the Guggenheim, naming it Maman was the way of the creator to express love, as well as the overprotective nature of the mother figure. 

Balloon Flower (New York)

Jeff Koons’ signature large-scale sculptures recall those balloon figures that clowns make at children parties. One of them stands in the shadow of the new skyscrapers of the World Trade Center, in New York, which resembles a flower-shaped out of a red balloon. The work was commissioned by businessman Larry Silverstein, who had bid to build new towers next to the Twin towers before the 9/11 attack.

Freedom (Philadelphia)

This beautiful work of art is displayed in downtown Philadelphia, in the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. The six-meter long piece is made up of four figures: one trapped in the bronze surrounded by faces, the second one is half stuck, the third is almost out of its metal prison, and the fourth runs free with arms open and exposing its chest. This work of art by American sculptor Zenos Frudakis is a mandatory stop when visiting the city.

Carmela (Barcelona)

Right outside the Music Palace Jaume Plensa, this iron sculpture of a head has been standing for eight years, which seems to appear out of nowhere and disappear as you walk down the street. Carmela is the name of this sculpture of a teenager, and the optical illusion that it creates is simply a metaphor for the transition from childhood to youth.

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