Giant Plastic Animals Appear Across Europe [Pics]

Penguins marching, one by one. These yellow birds make for a spectacular scene on the water. Kampa Museum, Prague 2008

All images via Cracking Art Group

Since 1983, colourful giant animals have been spotted around the world. Some seem to emerge right out of the water, while others hang in the balance like some kind of animal laundry between close-knit buildings. Still others stand guard atop historic landmarks and downtown balconies while top predators revert to their basest instincts in a bid for survival. Created using recycled plastic bottles by Cracking Art Group, these animals represent the art collective’s strong social and environmental ethic while bringing accessible contemporary art to the masses.

SOS WORLD 49° Biennale di Venezia 2001

The art group, which consists of six members from Italy, France and Belgium, derived their name from the term used to describe the transformation of petroleum to plastic, called ‘catalytic cracking’. All six artists use the medium of plastic to give rise to their own interpretation of “our contemporary problems and tensions.”

Lacrime di coccodrillo exhibit in the Chiostro del Bramante, Rome 2007. Translated as ‘Crocodile Tears’ in English, this installation includes a poor poodle with all the bones he could ever want surrounded by hungry purple crocodiles.

From the group’s website:

“Cracking is the gap of the contemporary man, struggling between the primary naturalness and a future more and more artificial.”

In their efforts to divert toxic waste from harming the environment, the group also recycles its animals, reincarnating old installations into new artworks to be displayed around the world.


Big Rabbits exhibition: orange bunnies in Portofino 2008

In one of their latest works, called ‘Big Rabbits,’ this dazzling orange duo could have been mistaken for a giant chocolate bunny jackpot instead! Artist Renzo Nucara from the Cracking Art Group explains:

“The rabbit is the symbol of reproduction and proliferation. A positive message in this time of confusion. We made a ‘Big Rabbit’ because, in accordance with our work, the animal becomes the witness of the change of nature and her balance.”


Members of the Cracking Art Group in front of a giant white rabbit.

And for some reason this giant white rabbit brings back childhood memories of the famous White Rabbit from Alice in Wonderland’s: Could its recycled plastic body symbolize a need for humankind to hurry up and make sure we’re not too late to save the planet?

Red dolphins suspended between two buildings “swim” above the street while green and red bears stand guard (or perhaps they’re waiting to pounce?) on balconies in Treviso in 2006.


Blue penguins march single file across a suspension bridge in Biella (2005): Why are these flightless birds so far away from home, and where are they headed? We wonder if they’re afraid of heights, too.

Birds in the Chiostro del Brunelleschi, Firenze in 1994.


The Oriocenter shopping mall opposite the Orio al Serio airport is swarmed by huge red crocs.

Check out Cracking Art Group’s website for more information and photos of additional artworks, some of which are below. And if you like recycled plastic bottle art, you’ll want to check out this plastic bottle house too.

Sources: 1, 2