24 December 2012

Neptune’s Sea Horses Drag the Roman God through a Skyscraper

You don’t see something like this every day – but if you walk through the Hanshan district of the Chinese city of Shenzhen you will come across this remarkable sculpture which seemingly explodes out of an office building. Two wild sea horses in full gallop leap from the building in pursuit of who knows what. Yet there is even more to this extraordinary piece of urban art....

The horses, cast in bronze, are dragging something along with them.  If you look at the far side of the building you will catch site of Neptune, the Roman god of the sea. He holds his trident in one hand and holds the other aloft, as he surfs along with his sea horses (and, in our imaginations, through the office block).

Yet why China and why Shenzhen? The city, situated immediately north of Hong Kong, is part of a special economic zone, a region that has economic laws that are more free-market-oriented than in other parts of this ostensibly communist state.

The sculpture represents a large company called (strangely enough) Neptunus, one of China’s 512 governmental financially supported large-scale enterprises.

The sculpture is as unexpected as it is grandiose and epic in scale. As such it is another example of the eruption of contemporary art in China which has taken the rest of the world by something approaching astonishment. If the 21st is China’s century, economically speaking, perhaps the same might also be said about art.

All photographs by Flickr User DC Master unless otherwise stated.