Living statue

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Judge statue

The term living statue refers to a street artist who poses like a statue or mannequin, usually with realistic statue-like makeup, sometimes for hours at a time.

Living statue performers can fool passersby and a number of hidden camera shows on television have used living statues to startle people.[citation needed] As with all performing arts, living statue performers may perform as buskers.[1]


Olga Desmond nude with drapery and pedestal.

The tableau vivant, or group of living statues, was a regular feature of medieval and Renaissance festivities and pageantry, such as royal entries by rulers into cities. Typically a group enacting a scene would be mounted on an elaborate stand decorated to look like a monument, placed on the route of the procession. A living statue appeared in a scene of the 1945 French masterpiece film Les enfants du paradis (Children of Paradise), and early living statue pioneers include the London-based artists Gilbert and George in the 1960s. In the early years of the 20th century, the German dancer Olga Desmond put on “Evenings of Beauty” (Schönheitsabende) in which she posed nude in imitation of classical works of art ('living pictures').


The World Championship of Living Statues is held annually at Arnhem in the Netherlands. In 2011, the festival ran from 28 to 29 August with around 300 000 visitors and 300 living statues (including amateurs and children).[citation needed]

The University of Business and Social Sciences in the city of Buenos Aires, Argentina has hosted a National Contest of Living Statues since the year 2000.[2]


Performing as a living statue is a prevalent form of busking, especially in places with a high level of tourism. A living statue performer will strategically choose a spot, preferably one with a high level of foot traffic, and out of the way. The performer creates the illusion of complete stillness while standing. Sometimes, passers-by do not realize the performer is a real person, which often causes surprise when the 'statue' gives them a small gesture (such as a wink or nod). A busker's objective is to create moments of interaction that result in a tip. The amount of money a performer makes day to day depends on his or her ability to effectively interact with the crowd.


See also


  1. Björn Lindahl (2010-03-02). "Job description: do as little as possible — Nordic Labour Journal". Nordic Labour Journal. Work Research Institute, Oslo, commissioned by the Nordic Council of Ministers. They suddenly appeared in all European capitals and tourist cities: the living statues. Where did they come from? What are they thinking while they stand there, lifeless? What do they do in winter? We came with many questions and quite a few prejudices when we approached one of the most peculiar occupations there is. 
  2. "Contest of Living Statues". Retrieved 2014-01-23. 

External links