This sculpture is a fine example of Otterness’s work as it brings together his light-hearted humor and subtle political views. Its title points to Jonathan Swift’s famous satire Gulliver’s Travels, which was first published in 1726 in conservative opposition to the early modern developments in England. The statue depicts perhaps the most well known event in the story when Gulliver wakes after a shipwreck to find himself tied to the ground and surrounded by hundreds of miniature people. In Swift’s story, this marks the beginning of a series of voyages to strange lands, each of which metaphorically critiques English society. Measuring over thirty-five feet long, the sculpture’s size diminishes the viewers’ presence and places them in the role of Gulliver’s captor. Otterness’s cartoon-like-figures parallel the animated versions of Gulliver’s Travels that are commonly shown to children thus making his messages more publicly accessible. Here, his reference to Swift solidifies his art as a political statement and affirms his disenchantment with Western society.
For more information visit the Gateway Foundation website.
Dimensions: 76 3/4″ x 446″ x 97 3/4″
Year Completed: 2002
Owner: Gateway Foundation