Beauty and the Beast
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The controversial Danish sculptor Jens Galschiot with a world wide reputation for setting up sculptures aiming at the chastisement of the demon of human behaviour has recently surprised many by unveiling a sculpture of a haute couture dress in front of the School for Clothing and Design in his home town of Odense. "This piece of art is a homage to the art of clothing and to the female beauty", the artist declares. The bronze sculpture titled the Octopus Dress has been created in co-operation with deceased Erik Mortensen, one of the world's most distinguished haute couture designers who for a number of years was the chief artistic creator of Balmain and Jean-Louis Scherrer in Paris. The sculpture was unveiled by the mayor of Odense and the prominent designer Joergen Simonsen from Versace in Milano, renowned for his creations for many of the world’s most famous film stars.

Galschiot’s other art manifestations often fan an animated controversy in the countries chosen as scenes for his ‘Theatre of Reality’. Poignant examples are My Inner Beast, where 20 sculptures of a human pig, each weighing one tonne were set up illegally all over Europe as a warning against racism, and the macabre installation The Silent Death during UN’s social summit where the streets of Copenhagen were flooded by 700 'dead children' and 13,000,000 ‘certificates’ symbolising the victims of hunger.

Highly provocative was the artist’s 8 metres high sculpture The Pillar of Shame set up in Hong Kong on the eve of the reunion with China as a protest against the crackdown of the democracy movement in Beijing ’89. Another Pillar of Shame was set up in Mexico this year in co-operation with the indigenous peoples to pillory the Acteal massacre where 45 unarmed civilians were slaughtered. The Mexican authorities reciprocated the donation of the sculpture by the expulsion of the Danish artist.

Asked by the press for the reasons of making an ovation to beauty and aesthetics, the artist replies that in fact he has always been a ‘disguised’ aestheticist, and that he has often created bronze sculptures of clothing pieces, e.g. one for the queen of Denmark. (commisioned work section)

"I don’t think there’s any real abyss between my ‘humanistic’ sculptures and this piece of art expressing an ovation to the female charms and the art of clothing. In fact, haute couture designers as well as women do belong to the human species", the artist concludes.

A description of Jens Galschiot's manifold activities and a lot of photos are available on the Internet:

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1999: Octopus Dress
Additional Information:
Categories: 1999: Octopus Dress | Clothing Sculptures | Commissioned Work
Sculptures: Octopus Dress
Type: Documents
Dates: 1999
Locations: Odense, Denmark | Beklædningsfagskolen, Brummers Plads, Odense, Denmark