Most of the monuments are – our architectural sense should suggest – built to commemorate or celebrate important events, people or situations, connected to a factual basis usually popular in history for some reason. Be it winning a battle or worshiping a god, the ground for which people decided to raise a monument must have a material support of the real world. This consideration can only be put in formula by marking the impact an idea or personality had on the specific civilization that values it.
Nonetheless, our reason is, some of the times, questioned by surrealist artwork, or maybe other ways of expression that break our common sense as well as our representation of a monument and what it should suggest or stand for. The following examples are edifying for an outside the box, uncorrupted perspective. Also, the reasons for which you should like to visit these monuments are behind the reason and common sense itself.
The Child Eater
No one seems to know exactly why this cynical, sadistic, grotesque yet somehow playful monument exists in Bern, Switzerland for more than 500 years now. There are, of course, many theories among the Swiss. The most popular, though highly unlikely and also very cruel is that the Kindlifresser – wearing a hat very similar to the ones the Jews used to be forced to carry at that time in history – represents a warning towards the Jewish population. Another theory is that this terrifying monster, Ogre, is nothing more but a representation of the Greek Titan Kronos.
This way, eating the children would make sense, according to the legends of this god. A more plausible and less wicked social assumption is that the statue is a character from the national festival called ‘Switzerland’s Fastnacht’ (Night of Fasting) and that its role is to scare the children and remind them to behave well, in order to step out of the danger.
Molinere Underwater Sculpture Park
This experimental exposition is not half a millennium old, but it is very popular nevertheless. Located in the Caribbean, the contemporary art was first open to the large public in 2006. The monuments form the world’s first underwater sculpture gallery.
The ecological view behind this project is that the living marines were, if not extinct, then endangered. Due to the recent years’ storms damage, the corals were projected to create a diversion from other places where coral reef are in danger because intense water activity.
Victoria’s Way Park
If you ever happen to go to Wicklow, Ireland, the exotic and religious symbols should make you go see it without any hesitations. The sculptures approach the Hindu, Buddhist and even Christian metaphors dressed in shockingly well realized granite black statuaries that made the place famous. The name of the artist is not Victoria, but Victor, reason for which people always leave the place wondering if its name is sort of metaphor for the universality of his artwork, irrespective of his gender.
One of the most controversial sculptures is represented by ‘The Split Man’, showing a figure ripping itself in two, representing ‘the mental state of the dysfunctional human’, an abstract presentation of the human mind.
Saint on a dead horse
The Czech jocularity in arts and architecture is too little known by the tourists who have a sense of humor. One of the three very important principles in neo-rationalism is genius loci, and the artist who designed the monument combined the artistic sarcasm with the historical background of the place, giving it a personal cultural pulse.
As a humorous reaction to past times, David Cerny built the sculpture in the Wenceslaus Park as a mock to the Czech national pride. His entire work is very controversial, but depicting the patron saint of the Czech state, Saint Wenceslaus, riding a horse that is upside down represents the artistic proof of unaltered, critical perspective of the local historical background. This rational sarcasm in arts is the main reason why his work attracts a large number of tourists every year. The monument, standing not more than a few yards from the original statue, is also one of the most visited cultural representations in Prague.