Free Quirk No.20 ~ "Close Encounters of the 5th Kind"


"Close Encounters of the 5th Kind"

To be honest, I almost kept this one to myself.

Maybe it's a bit childish, but I kind of like the fact that I know about 5 Statues of Liberty in Paris, and I haven't met many people who know of more than a couple. You do know of a couple, don't you?!

But then I thought, hey, we're almost old friends now after all these crazy Paris Quirks, so let's do it.

So here it is, the 5th Paris Statue of Liberty, I've discovered over the years, as shown clearly in the photo above.

What do you mean that's not the Statue of Liberty? Of course it is, staring you right in the face, for crying out loud!incongruous words or phrases is very much how the text reads in its original French, as a direct mirror of the author's own tortured thought processes.

"Everything you need to find this statue is right here on this page - a little research will make the discovery all the sweeter!"

You don't believe me? OK, well let's move in a little closer to see if I can convince you...

There we are, can you see it now in my second picture? I said it was the 5th Statue of Liberty I'd discovered in Paris, but I didn't say it was the biggest! But Statue of Liberty it most certainly is; I mean, bronze is bronze, after all, and this certainly isn't made of plastic and sold by dodgy keyring wielding gentlemen under the Eiffel Tower with a tendency to run off into the bushes every time a bobby on a bike comes riding by!

Baldaccini wasn't the richest of young French artists, and lacking the necessary funds for expensive marble or other more traditional sculpting metals, he started scouring scrap yards for more affordable and inspiring raw materials. Perhaps we could say he was the original recycling artist.

If you do look at any of his works, such as the one on this page, it is easy to spot the original components, including such common items as rugged bolts, industrial tubes and even the odd chair leg with caster wheel attached. Just as fun is seeing how he's incorporated them into his new piece, with spiral threaded shafts becoming sinewy veins and muscles, hollow cylindars becoming fingers, and chairs with caster wheels still attached becoming... well, maybe that'll be for a future Paris Quirk if you don't mind ;-)

Oh, and just in case you still can't see my 5th Statue of Liberty in the second picture on the right here, the third shot below shows a close-up of what's just under the horse-man's beard (for this is indeed the sculptor's very personal interpretation of Greek mythology's half-man, half horse centaur), attached to his chest or tunic as some sort of decoration - now there can be now argument, can there?!

There are quite a few other examples of his work around Paris, a trademark multipli-sliced head in Saint-Germain des Prés, a monumental grave in the Montparnasse cemetery and a huge thumb (his thumb and thumb print) at La Défense.

But it's this one which I hold dearest - the first one which grabbed me by the eyeballs and made me think, What The F...?!

When you consider a horse with what looks like a wide array of common or garden implements shoved up its backside masquerading as a tail, not to mention two full sets of (presumably working) sexual equipment, firmly implanted in a shudderingly chic and sophisticated part of the city, you'll understand my consternation. Have I already mentioned innovative uses for caster-wheeled chair legs, by the way..?

He also created the famous French film statue bearing his name which is the Gallic equivalent of the Oscar. Not bad for a possibly somewhat megalomaniacal misfit with a definite penchant for rummaging through rubbish dumps and compressing old car wrecks down to a fraction of their original size and calling it art.

By the way, if you want or even need to know where all versions of this statue are, read the note below. That'll do!


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© 2011 Sab Will / Paris Set Me Free - Suggestions, requests and comments always welcome! J