Ville de Genève


Mise à jour: 25.02.2015

Sculptures along the Tranchées' Cultural Trail

The parks, walks and squares in the Tranchées district are embellished with sculptures, most of which belong to the City of Geneva.

Reclining figure: Arch leg
Henry Moore 1969-1970

Promenade de l‘Observatoire

© M. Levet

Henry Moore (1898-1986) liked to explore the theme of the reclining figure. The catalogue of his sculpted work contains around six hundred items, of which one hundred are Reclining Figures and only five are of such large dimensions. The force of the Museum of Art and History’s example lies in the opposition between the two masses that construct the volume in space. As for the void that contributes to the definition of the form, it is typical of Moore’s research throughout his work.

Clepsydra or Dream in A flat,
Johan Josef Heeb, 1975-76

Malagnou Park

© M. Levet

Josef Heeb (1930-1980) started out as a musical instrument maker. One day, he wanted to make something himself and produced a clock from six bicycles, fascinated as he was by the dimension of “time”; that which passes, that which we waste; the time that is different for everyone. Installed in Malagnou Park owing to the former presence there of the Museum of Watchmaking, the big blue clepsydra, or water clock, was painted black during a conservation treatment.

Malagnou Park and its sculptures


Over the years, sculptures have naturally taken their place in the Museum’s park planted with one hundred year old trees. A stone marmot that seems to survey its surroundings from the top of a rock was one of the first sculptures installed in the park in 1967. It is the work of the famous naturalist Robert Hainard, as is the bronze grey heron (1981) watching over the pool next to the entrance. The idea of decorating the facade of the museum was probably put forward when the building was first designed. The bas-relief by the sculptor Paul Bianchi, placed there in 1973, often intrigues visitors. Untitled, it symbolises the earth’s crust and the life that arose from the oceans. A spineless sea urchin occupies the upper left part of the sculpture. In 1961, the same artist created an elegant seated leopard, also one of the first sculptures to occupy the park in 1966. The barn owl perched on its wings (1970) and the anteater (1969) at the rear of the building near the Route de Malagnou are the work of Yvan-Louis Larsen, taxidermist at the Natural History Museum. The impressive bronze gorilla (1984) is by Louis Gallet who took for his model Mock, a primate at London Zoo. The granite bull (1947) created by Luc Jaggi was initially intended to decorate the entrance to the City’s new abattoirs. Following the closure of the latter, it was moved to Malagnou Park in 1997.  Lastly, an erratic boulder composed of stones of different kinds and colours produced by the destruction of other pre-existing rocks was discovered during construction work on the Lausanne-Geneva motorway. It was decided to install it in front of the museum in 1979, as evidence of our glacial past. For when the Rhône glacier advanced into the Geneva region between 70,000 and 10,000 BC, it brought with it large numbers of stones wrested from the Alps along its route. When the ice melted, around 12,000 BC, boulders like these – called erratics, from the Latin errare “to wander” – were left behind.

Laurent De Pury, 2004

Place Sturm

© M. Levet

The plant world and the kind of permanence and infinite respiration it offers is the main field of exploration of Laurent de Pury (1958-). All of the artist’s sculptures comprise at least one element of natural origin. Here, the sculptor exploits wood and its flexibility to produce seemingly infinite elegant curves. De Pury places his work directly on the ground, which becomes its true support, thus helping to desacralize the sculpture.

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