Giant New Public Art Unveiled on Vancouver’s False Creek

Photo sourced from @Van_Biennale's Twitter feed via @Blah_City

Photo sourced from @Van_Biennale’s Twitter feed via @Blah_City

Olympic Village in Vancouver has some colourful new residents.

A brand new seven-metre-tall outdoor sculpture has been installed on the edge of Olympic Village at Hinge Park.  Called Human Structures, the sculpture consists of 64 brightly coloured metal cutouts in the shape of human figures, stacked one on top of the other.

Created by acclaimed U.S. artist Jonathan Borofsky, Human Structures is part of the 2014 Vancouver Biennale, the every-other-year exhibition that brings dozens of works of monumental art to the streets, parks and beaches of Vancouver.  This edition of the Biennale will see some 20 sculptures installed in Vancouver, with an additional 10 works going up in New Westminster, North Vancouver and Squamish.

Photo sourced form @Van_Biennale's Twitter feed via @Murray_Nichol

Photo sourced form @Van_Biennale’s Twitter feed via @Murray_Nichol

The new Human Structures sculpture – with its orange, green, yellow, black, white and blue figures – is hard to miss on the Vancouver waterfront.  The work rises on the southern shore of False Creek, next to tiny Habitat Island, the manmade island added to the waterway during the Olympic Village construction.  The 64 figures are made of painted steel and connected to each other with bolts and plates in a kind of soaring human pyramid.

The meaning is hard to miss.  In the sculptor’s own words, the artwork represents “humanity connecting to humanity,” across all racial and ethnic lines and other divisions. The figures are designed to look slightly “pixelated” (with rough, square edges), which adds to the symbolism.  We all share photos with one another on computers and these photos – wherever in the world they come from – are all composed of the same underlying unit, the pixel.

Photo sourced from

A similar Borofsky sculpture in a different context.  Photo sourced from

Similar versions of Borofsky’s Human Structures have also been displayed in San Francisco and Beijing. His monumental works, with evocative titles like Molecule Man, Hammering Man and People Tower, have been shown everywhere from Germany to Seoul and New York City’s Rockefeller Center.

Exactly how long Human Structures will stick around Vancouver remains to be seen.  The works featured as part of the Biennale generally stay for just a year or two, but some of the most popular end up being permanent fixtures on the Vancouver landscape. Examples include A-maze-ing Laughter (the giant bronze men near English Bay), 217.5 Arc X 13 (those weird rusting metal ribs at Sunset Beach), and Engagement (the huge engagement rings above Sunset Beach). 

Other artworks being installed for the 2014 Vancouver Biennale include: Breathing Flower (a lotus flower the size of a two-storey house, which opens and closes each day); Love Your Bean (car-size, neon-coloured Jelly Beans planted in public spaces); and Shipping Containers (pairs of full-size shipping containers welded together in giant V shapes).

What do you think about the new Human Structures sculpture? Let us know below.  

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