Provocative public pieces

Updated: 2013-09-21 08:18

(China Daily)

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1. The "Big Back Head" Maitreya

As soon as it appeared in April in an amusement park in Luoyang, Henan province, the golden statue received a great deal of sarcastic reviews mocking its cross-over "fashion". It featured a modern man's head with a "big back head" hairstyle and the body of a sitting Maitreya Buddha.

The park later apologized on its website for the negative impact of the figure. It explained that the figure's head resembled the park's founder.

The staff later removed the head and installed it elsewhere in the park as an independent sculpture.

2. Flying Goddess

Provocative public pieces

The Flying Goddess statue aroused no appreciation but only complaints, even though she had a pretty face and a nice body. She was dismantled less than two weeks after her debut at a road intersection in Urumqi, Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, in August 2012.

The statue measured 18 meters in height. She was surrounded by various flowers at her feet, and her dress was made of layers of grass.

The image gained inspiration from the Dunhuang frescos and expressed the hope for openness and a better life, but her style was considered by viewers as awful.

3. Supporting the Elderly

Here is another example of yearning for family harmony in a damaging way. A sculpture in a residential community in Guilin, Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, showed two naked and similar-looking women carrying a man, whose legs were pulled up and his sexual organs were on display.

An explanation below said the two women were the man's wife and daughter-in-law; and together they helped the old man go to the toilet. The community's developer ordered the sculpture because it signified mutual support between family members, and particularly a good relationship between parents and daughters-in-law.

But few people bought the idea and said nudity is only acceptable when it brings out the best of the work's artistry.

4. Frolicking Mother and Piglet

Provocative public pieces

The instant that parents saw the sculpture in Zhengzhou, Henan province, they dragged their children away or immediately covered their eyes.

One of a dozen of cartoon sculptures on the city's landmark square, the stone work was intended to show a pig giving her mother a massage. But the message of filial piety failed to convince the audience, who believed they saw two pigs of the same size having sex. The impression was reinforced by the supposedly mother pig, which lay on her belly and exposed a breast.

City administrators were criticized for not taking into account that a public art work, if poorly designed, would mislead people.

5. "Welcome to Wangjing"

This notorious landmark overlooks busy traffic at the entrance of Beijing's Wangjing area. It ranked high on an online poll to select China's top 10 ugliest public art works in 2012. Passers-by feel no welcome from it, but are startled by this cheap imitation of the China Pavilion at the Shanghai 2010 Expo. Management officials of the area said the 18-meter-tall construction, with a huge sign saying "Welcome to Wangjing" which is illuminated at night, acts as a guide for drivers, many of whom find the area's layout quite puzzling.

Administrators later installed a sculpture, a pair of mother and child giant pandas, as another landmark in Wangjing.

Wangjing is home to the Central Academy of Fine Arts and close to Beijing's two art districts, 798 and Caochangdi. Therefore the area's residents, many of whom are artists and gallery owners, question how the two landmarks could suit the area's artistic climate.

Liao Mei contributed to this story.