Living Statues are performers that pose as statues or mannequins in public spaces and events. Sometimes for numerous hours at a time. Some are so good at passing for a real statue they fool passers by. Human statues are often seen on the busy streets of big cities performing as buskers. The best Human statues know how to interact with the passers by and spectators. A simple nudge and wink, or a cheeky smile will create laughs and keep a crowd.
Living statues were a regular feature of medieval and renaissance festivals. Usually these human statues were engaged to enact a scene on a elaborate stand, themed to look like a monument depicting historical events, victories or festive characters. In modern day times, the early pioneers of living statues performances include the artists Gilbert & George in the 60ies. Gilbert & George are two artists from the UK working collaboratively across media and performance art.
Gilbert & George’s approach to art has always been anti-elitist. Coining the slogan ‘Art for All’, their aim was to break through the confines of the art world. Although they work in a multitude of media, they have always referred to their works as living sculpture.
You may not know it, but there is actually a World Championship of Living Statues held every year in the town of Arnhem in the Netherlands, and attracts over 300,000 visitors over the 2 day event held in August every year.
Busking as a living statue is a is a popular form of busking, and if you’re good can make a reasonable living from entertaining passers by, especially in places which have a large amount of tourism and foot traffic. The objective for the performer is to create short moments of interaction that have the result of generating a tip for the performer. The amount of money the busker can make per day is completely dependent on their ability to successfully interact with the audience.