Magazine article Sculpture

Commissions

Magazine article Sculpture

Commissions

Article excerpt

FLORINTINJN HOFMAN

Zagarayuschiy Zayats (Sunbathing Hare)

St. Petersburg, Russia

Florentijn Hofman-best known for giant rubber ducky inflatables that have been touring the world for more than five years (and were recently a huge hit in East Asia)-has a special affinity for creating large, playful sculptures of everyday objects. Such works, he says, "give people a break from their daily routines."

Last summer on St. Petersburg's Zayachy Island (Hare Island), Hofman installed a 15-meter-long sculpture of a smiling toy hare, which looked like a giant toddler had carelessly dropped it on the ground. Constructed from pieces of plywood, Zagarayuschiy Zayats (Sunbathing Hare), which doubled as a playground and photo op, was installed for a few weeks last fall as part of RussiaNetherlands 2013, a celebration of bilateral relations between the two countries. "In Russia, there is no contemporary art in public space," the Dutch artist explains, and locals accustomed to "bronze sculptures of politicians and rulers" were drawn to his unusual project.

Zagarayuschiy Zayats was sited near the Peter and Paul Fortress, the original citadel of the city founded by Peter the Great in 1703. Spanning most of Zayachy Island, the historic fortress once housed a prison where the Decembrists, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Leon Trotsky, and Josip Broz Tito were incarcerated. At the center of the structure stands Peter and Paul Cathedral, the oldest church in the city and burial place of the Russian tsars. After the Russian Revolution, most of the fortress became a museum, as it remains to this day, attracting tourists and natives alike to Zayachy Island. Hofman notes that residents "65 years and older hang around on Hare Island to sunbathe whenever the sun strikes St. Petersburg [in] early spring until late autumn." He likes to think of Zagarayuschiy Zayats as having contributed a "sculptural rhyme" to Zayachy Island and its sunbathing elders.

DAIVID CERNY

fuckoff

Prague

In the lead-up to the Czech parliamentary elections last October, President Milos Zeman woke up one morning to find a 30-foot-tall, purple hand giving him the finger from the middle of the Vltava River. Pointed at Prague Castle (the president's residence), fuckoff was the unmistakable work of the city's most prolific artist, David Cerny.

Famous for his provocative and often politically charged public works, Cerny made a name for himself in 1991 when he covered Prague's Monument to Soviet Tank Crews in pink paint. In a 2013 interview with Vice, Cerny recalled that "about 16 years ago [Zeman, then a member of parliament], said I should be in prison after the pink tank incident." Cerny, however, was unhappy with the president for more than just personal reasons.

After a corruption scandal led to Prime Minister Petr Necas's resignation last July, Zeman's new appointee gained a no confidence vote, parliament dissolved, and new elections were announced. …

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