#5. The Hare -- Nuremberg, Germany
The last time you and your sweet grandmother visited the cultured city of Nuremberg didn't go quite as planned, as the local "Fountain of Virtue" turned out to be the sort of lactation frenzy most niche porn companies could only hope to deliver. This time, you've decided to play it safe. Apart from strictly PG-rated galleries and churches, your only point of interest is going to be the sculpture made in honor of Grandma's favorite painting, Albrecht Durer's The Young Hare:
There's no way you could go wrong with this one. Sure of yourself, you stop to pat yourself on the back for your choice, letting Grandma limp ahead to the plaza that serves as home to the Hare:
God dammit, Nuremberg. What did the bunny ever do to you?
#4. Floralis Generica -- Buenos Aires, Argentina
Quick: What's worse than a 75-foot steel statue that looks like the doomsday weapon of a Bond villain? That's right, a 75-foot doomsday statue that moves.
Floralis Generica is a giant 23-meter-tall metal flower/murder beam pedestal that was built and donated to the city of Buenos Aires by architect Eduardo Catalano. Its giant steel petals open and close, depending on the time of day. During the dark hours, the sculpture emits an ominous red light that is supposed to appear comforting, but is clearly just waiting to blast passing superheroes out of the sky.
If there's not an evil lair under this thing yet, I'm calling dibs.
The artist says the sculpture "is a synthesis of all the flowers and is both a hope that is reborn every day to open," which we can only assume is the code phrase for opening the door of the giant vault underneath Floralis Generica that controls its death ray.
#3. Transi de Rene de Chalon -- Bar-le-Duc, France
Via Morbid Anatomy
When you're visiting a random church in a small village in Northern France, you expect to see the stuff you see in most old churches: crosses, paintings, a few statues of saints ... that sort of thing. That's precisely what you'll see in Bar-le-Duc's Saint-Etienne church. Well, that and a fucking zombie monster, just gleefully hanging about in a place of honor, arm raised to meet the sky like the world's cheesiest Shakespearean actor.
This statue is the memorial of Rene de Chalon, a 16th century prince, who had a hunch he'd die in his 20s (it was a turbulent time) and made a special request to be depicted this way postmortem. Local history books do their level best to write this off as an artistic choice meant to represent "doing right by God even after death." However, let's be honest here: The dude was a wealthy 20-something -- there's no way this was anything but a particularly inspired trolling idea someone in his entourage came up with at 4 a.m.
#2. Genghis Khan -- Mongolia
So you have become weary of the strain of modern life and decide to turn over a new leaf in the farthest, most quiet corner of the world you can imagine. Your travels take you to Mongolia's grassy plains, where you happily wander for days. Finally, you are content.
Then, suddenly, you see something massive looming on the horizon, and things get fucking metal.
Play for full effect.
The 131-foot equestrian statue of Genghis Khan is located over an hour's drive from Mongolia's capital city in the middle of utter nowhere, creating an effect not unlike taking a walk on the moon and bumping into the Statue of Liberty. The Khan calmly gazes upon the plains it controls, much like its tiny fleshling counterpart did all those years ago. The look on its face is that of grim satisfaction, because your natural enemies are few and far between when you're a giant stainless steel construct in the middle of rural landscape.
What I love about this statue is how they've clearly made an effort to depict the rider figure as a smoothly featured human being, but no one felt the need to make the horse anything but sharp, vaguely equine steampunk angles and pure utilitarian power, like one of those machine steeds He-Man and Skeletor sometimes ride. Yes, this is giant Genghis Khan on a giant robot hell-horse, and yes, it is expecting you to run now.
#1. Maman -- Fucking Everywhere
Sweet rusty trombone, look at that thing!
Jesus Christ, world. Are you throwing huge man-made spiders at us again? We've had this discussion before -- we don't need any massive artificial arachnids, we already have Australia to supply the non-existing demand for the real thing a hundred million times over.
Still, because we live in a terrible world, here's Maman, a 30-foot-high spider ... fucking ... thing that lurks the courtyards and alleyways of, well, absolutely everywhere. Not only is your average Maman a traveling exhibition, but there are also at least half a dozen of them around, meaning that during any given moment these things roam several countries at once. Now, keep that in mind as we explore its egg sac:
Yes, of course it has an absurdly detailed, ready-to-burst egg sac. It's almost as if you've never seen a horror movie.
Born from the mind of sculptor Louise Bourgeois, Maman is subject to many an analysis about the nature of humanity and the position of spiders in culture. Judging by the statue's looks alone, the answer to the former is most likely "snacks," and to the latter, "in charge."