Offbeat Modern Sculptures from Around the World

Offbeat Modern Sculptures from Around the World
Sculpture has long been a powerful art form, Photo Credit: Seiji Enokido/Flickr

Unlike staring at a two-dimensional painting, sculptures inhabit the same space as you do and draw you in by making you change your point of view and interact with them

Aroshi Handu
September 05 , 2020
03 Min Read

The history of sculptures links back to the time when statues of gods were built to be venerated and worshipped. Later came the statues of famous people and military leaders which acted as a kind of tribute to their lives and the lives they touched. Over time, art has become more abstract and a sculpture’s main purpose today is to add emotion and colour to the most mundane of surroundings. Since time immemorial, sculptors have explored the relationship between viewer, space, and material object in a myriad of ways.

Here are some of the most creative modern sculptures from around the world.


Singing Ringing Tree, England
The pipes swirl to form the shape of a tree bent and blown by the wind, and produce an eerie, melodious hum as the constant wind on Crown Point drifts through them. The sound is said to be simultaneously discordant and melancholy, and intensely beautiful.

The Shoes on the Danube Bank, Hungary
This heart-wrenching installation is a tribute to the poignant story of hundreds of people who lost their lives due to atrocities during World War II. Different styles and sizes can be seen, showing that nobody was safe — not men, women, or children.

Maman, Spain
Seemingly straight out of a horror film, Maman is a work of French-American artist Louise Bourgeois whose work is very personal and frequently refers to her childhood. The installation casts a powerful physical and psychological shadow that is associated with the artist's own mother. The spider provokes awe and fear but at the same time the spindly legs which bear her weight point to an almost poignant vulnerability.

Release, South Africa
A compelling sculpture depicting the struggles of Nelson Mandela, this eye-catching display when viewed from the right angle, takes the shape of Mandela’s face. Change your position, and his image disappears. The vertical bars which represent his imprisonment and walking through the structure reveals a radiant light which symbolises the political uprising and the solidarity.

The Architectural Fragment, Australia
Like a lost civilisation sinking into the pavement outside the State Library of Victoria, this sculpture represents a fragment of the library emerging from the pavement as an archaeological artefact might. Petrus Spronk whose work this is, wanted to create a dialogue of sorts between art, history, and place. Like a fallen classical monument, it reflects the past and alludes to the transience of the present.

Force of Nature, London
Italian sculptor Lorenzo Quinn began creating a series of such sculptures after witnessing the destruction brought on by hurricanes around the world. They look quite powerful, depicting Mother Nature hurtling planet earth around in circles. This furious image is meant to remind us of the power of nature and our ‘false sense of security’ towards it. At any moment in time, nature’s wrath could be awakened, bringing with it sudden destruction.

Les Voyageurs, France
This extraordinary series of sculptures depict realistic human workers with parts of their bodies missing. Themes extend into exploring the ideas of home, belonging, loss, and the experiences of a “world citizen”. French artist Bruno Catalano lamented that all his travels left him feeling that a part of him was gone and will never come back. What’s impressive is that some of the sculptures seem to stand on very little support, giving them a sort of ethereal and surreal appearance.


Related Articles

In Photos: 5 Must Have...

Simrran Gill 03 Min Read

5 Stunning Gurudwaras in...

Rangeet Ghosh 05 Min Read

Sample India Through the...

Nayanika Mukherjee 11 Min Read

Here to there

Explore Directions(Routes) and more...
to Go

Other Editions

Outlook’ is India’s most vibrant weekly news magazine with critically and globally acclaimed print and digital editions. Now in its 23rd year...

Explore All
  • Check out our Magazine of the month
  • Offbeat destinations
  • In-depth storytelling
  • Stunning pictures
  • Subscribe