By toying with notions such as animated nature and stone-still sculpture, a Living Statue seeks to confuse or astonish the audience. 


Living Statues

Photo: Stevyn Colgan
From the Tropenmuseum collection

Antonia Santos, aka Staticman, holds the Guinness World Record for standing still for 20 hours, 11 minutes and 38 seconds in 2003.

On the Fourth Plinth

In 2009, 2,400 members of the public became living statues – or, at least, living artworks - when they took turns to stand on the empty fourth plinth in London's Trafalgar Square. Organised by sculptor Anthony Gormley, it included a living statue of Lord Nelson and a Godzilla who demolished a cardboard replica of the London skyline.

Living Statues of the Past

Living statues – those street performers who spend most of the time standing very still, usually in some form of costume - are not a modern phenomenon.
American showman P. T. Barnum (1810-91) is known to have displayed living statues as part of his repertoire of curiosities in the 1840s, and tableaux vivants (‘living pictures’) were a 19th century fad in which numerous costumed people would stand still in silence - a kind of living photograph.
In the 1930s the Windmill Theatre, near Piccadilly Circus, London, presented its Revudebelle showgirls, who posed motionless and naked in subdued lighting. This was a compromise after the Lord Chamberlain's Office, responsible for stage censorship, forbade striptease but allowed an artistic representation of women as long as they didn’t move a muscle. 


In March 2013 in Australia, a man was punched in the face by a living statue when he tried to rub off his make up.

Loughborough High School has a 90-year-old tradition of conducting its nativity show in the form of ten tableaux vivants.


I was a self-employed living statue called 'The 8ft Bride' and I love telling people I did this for a job because everybody always wants to know, who are those freaks in real life?

World Championships

The World Championship of Living Statues is held annually at Arnhem in the Netherlands and attracts more than 300,000 visitors and over 300 living statues, including amateurs and children. 

The champions are judged on the following:
1) Content: what is their story?
2) Craftsmanship: do they look like a statue?
3) Aesthetical sensation: are they beautiful in some way?
4) Entertainment: how do they interact with the audience?


The body hurts a great deal. You must know how to breathe in order to oxygenate the muscles properly so that lactic acid does not accumulate.