Tuesday, August 25, 2009


artfagcity, which is the most appropriate name i've encountered, has an article up about non-political celebrity statues throughout the world. it began with the bruce lee project. there are sister statues of bruce lee. one, aptly placed in hong kong and the other, not so apt, in mostar, bosnia and herzegovina. those effected by the yugoslav wars apparently felt they needed statues of leaders but had no leader worthy of immortalization. enter bruce lee. this is what is called turbo-sculpture.

"Although she does not say it, the development of Turbo-folk, a musical genre originating in Serbia and emerging from pop-folk, is emblematic of the 90’s crisis in ex-Yugoslavia. At the time, the term was nothing more than an intentionally humorous combination of two contradictory concepts - “turbo,” evoking an image of modern industrial progress and “folk,” a symbol of tradition and rural conservatism. But the political and economic turmoil of the early 1990s Yugoslavia rendered the society labile enough for the concept “Turbo-culture” to gain momentum. With all its exaggerations, inordinateness and random amalgamations of both local and global ornamentations, Turbo eventually became a prefix for social and media phenomena of the war and post-war period. As a result, terms such as Turbo-politics, Turbo-TV, Turbo-architecture, Turbo-urbanism, etc. developed. Turbo-sculpture describes the recent rise of interest and popularity in public monuments dedicated to nonpolitical celebrity figures."

there's more on the turbo movement in the article. the statue is supposed to represent ethnic unity in an ethnically touchy place. but the bruce lee statue isn't the only bronzed celebrity in the region. there's a nikola tesla in belgrade, well, not too far fetched, but then there's also a tupac shakur. in fact, italian artist paolo chiasera has created a tupac project and constructed yet another off-set statue of the rapper in bologna. the strangest of all, and this is my humble opinion, is the rocky balboa in zitište, serbia, one of the poorest cities in northern serbia. the idea being that this statue would somehow reinvigorate the city's economy and reputation. it's good to know they don't just elect these visionaries in birmingham.

the full article with more photos are here. be careful, there is a slightly nsfw photo of samantha fox - yes they were building her a statue.