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Colosses, Photos of Monumental Statues From Around the World

Fascinated by the human desire to build monumental statues, photographer Fabrice Fouillet has documented some of the world’s largest statues in his photo series “Colosses.” Fouillet talks about the project in this LensCulture post.

Mother of the Fatherland, Kiev, Ukraine, 203 ft, built in 1981

Mao Zedong, Changsha, China, 105 ft, built in 2009

Christ Blessing, Manado, Indonesia, 98.5 ft, built in 2007

Dai Kannon, Sendai, Japan, 330 ft, built in 1991

Guan Yu, Yuncheng, China, 262 ft, built in 2010

Statues are often idealized works of art. They are ideological, political or religious representations and attempt to turn their subjects into fascinating, eternal figures. Even when erected to keep alive the memory of a single person, a statue that lasts many generations will eventually establish itself as a symbol for the community.

Statues are even more influential when they are monumental. An edifice can be said to be monumental when it is unusual, extraordinary and physically imposing. It has to be abnormal — as exceptional as the political or religious power itself — and also inseparable from its symbolic aspects.

The series “Colosses” is a study of the landscapes that embrace monumental commemorative statues.

As a wave of "statuomania" swept over the world in the 1990s, many huge statues were built. Most of them are located in Asia and represent the Buddha. The world’s highest statue is under construction in India — it will reach 182 meters.

Although hugeness is appealing and exhilarating in its own right, I was first intrigued by thehuman-sized desire behind these gigantic declarations. Then, I asked myself how such works could be connected to their surroundings. How can they fit in the landscapes, despite their excessive dimensions and their necessarily symbolic functions?

Thus, I chose to photograph the statues outside their formal surroundings (touristic or religious), and to favor a more detached view. This detachment enabled me to offer a wider view of the landscape and to place the monuments in a more contemporary dimension.

Christ the King. Zwiebodzin, Poland, 36 m (120 ft). Built in 2010

Laykyun Setkyar. Monywa, Myanmar, 116 m (381 ft). Built in 2008

African Renaissance Monument. Dakar, Senegal, 49 m (161 ft). Built in 2010
Jibo Kannon. Kagaonsen, Japan, 73 m (239 ft). Built in 1987

Alyosha monument. Murmansk, Russia, 35.5 m (116.5 ft). Built in 1974

Amitabha Buddha. Ushiku, Japan, 110 m (360 ft). Built in 1993
Guanyin. Foshan, China, 62 m (203 ft). Built in 1998

Ataturk Mask. Buca, Izmir, Turkey, 40 m (132 ft). Built in 2009

Grand Byakue. Takazaki, Japan, 42 m (137 ft). Built in 1936.

Grand Bouddha Sakayamunee. Ang Thong, Thailande, 92 m (301 ft). Built in 2008

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