Who wouldn't smile at the sight of this big rubber duck floating down the river. Lucky people in Osaka and Sao Paulo, Amsterdam, and Rotterdam have all been given the chance to chuckle at its bobbing head.
Created by Florentin Hofman, the iconic duck is 26 meters tall and 25 meters wide and his sole purpose is to provide a little joy in people's lives and "relieve world tension."
Hofman is an artist and what you might call a "gentle" environmentalist: his works are witty and thoughtful and make you think about the environment along the way. He uses familiar images on a grand scale to make his point. The shapes are immediately identifiable and people can relate to them easily.
The Fat Monkey is a site specific work in Brazil which was created out of 10,000 flip flops. He is lying flat out on his back in a park. What shoe could be more emblematic of that country?
Or take this grand piano, one of three, washed upon the shore. Each one is 8 meters tall, and made out of salvaged wood and nails. They refer to stranded cargo and whales. "To be salvaged or saved; in any case to be wondered and surprised about."
This was a block of houses destined for demolition in Rotterdam. He painted it blue and made it a tourist attraction and people began to reassess what had been considered to be a slum. As the artist explains:
It also puts in perspective blocks of houses as such, architectural 'fashions' and demographic processes like city migrations, by making those blocks look like toy houses or archetypal buildings on an architect's maquette.
The Kobe Frog is a 10 meter high sculpture on the roof of the art museum in Kobe. It was built on a site destroyed by an earthquake in 1995. The frog wears a party hat; the work is about "enjoying life and being flexible in times of nature disasters, danger and stress."