Has a monument to open defecation been erected in The Netherlands? You might think so after Dutch residents christened Antony Gormley’s 26 metre high monumental sculpture “de poepende man” or the “shitting man”.
The real name of the giant crouching man overlooking the Dutch Markermeer lake is “Exposure”. Weighing 26 tonnes and taking six years to build, the sculpture was unveiled on 17 September 2010 in Lelystad, central Netherlands.
As one approaches it, [Gormley] explains: “The nature of the object changes. You can see it as a human form in the distance. It becomes more abstract the closer you get to it. And finally it becomes a chaotic frame through which you can look at the sky.”
The elements meet at particular nodal points – starbursts of metal – the most congested of which are at the head, throat, heart, stomach and genitals of the form. These roughly correspond to the “chakras”, or energy points, of ancient Hindu thought. “It is a re-examination of the body as an energy system, rather than as a system of bone, muscle and skin,” says Gormley.
When asked if he took offence to his sculpture’s nickname, Gormley said:
“I don’t mind that at all. […] Having a crap is one of the most relaxing and intimate moments one has in the world.”
Read more about the sculpture in an article by Charlotte Higgins in the Guardian of 27 August 2010.