Zürich Street Art 2005: the Year of the Teddy


In recent years, the Swiss city of Zürich has had a summer theme to draw attention to itself. In 1998 life-sized, fibreglass cows were dotted throughout its streets in an exhibition called Land in Sicht (the countryside in view). This street art was so popular that the cow-sculptures later visited other cities, including Edinburgh, Chicago, Denver, Lima and Perth Western Australia.

Not many people remembered that this was not the first time model animals had appeared in the streets of Zürich: back in 1986, painted lions, the symbol of Zürich, were spread around the city. In 2005 from 23 May to 18 September, over 600 teddy bears could be admired throughout Zürich city and at Zürich airport – the main sponsors.

Teddies, a firm favourite with all age groups and nationalities, are presented in a variety of shapes and sizes. Individually or in groups, in a variety of poses and all imaginatively decorated by various artists. Zürich’s reputation as a lively, stimulating city was underlined that year by the motto “I Love Teddies – I Love Zürich”.

Although Zürich was definitely the first city to fill its streets with animal statues, many others, especially in the USA and UK, adopted the idea – although some of their choices of animals were a bit bizarre: Aberdeen displayed 50 dolphins, Bath 100 pigs, while for Birmingham it was 89 owls. Bristol put out 61 model gorillas, and Copenhagen 100 baby elephants – surely the most appealing creatures after the Teddies.

The thirty-six Zürich teddy bears in my photos all were connected to some sponsoring business, usually near to their premises. See if you can use the decoration and colour of these to guess what the business was that was represented by each Ted. Here’s one to start you off: Number three, for example, with two bears wearing Chinese costumes, is probably sponsored by Chinese businesses in the city.
bear with label in french three bears on a street corner in Zurich, Switzerland  parent and child bears in chinese costume dark brown bear, Zurich 
white bear with penguin friend newspaper fashion pages bear  blue Zurich street teddy bear  bear wearing ladies’ underwear
all red bear with swiss watches dinner with wine, laid on bear  teddy rides on servant’s back  teddy bear pilot reflects the sky 
bears of the computer age teddies of the modern age, Paradeplatz, Zurich  part football culture, part patriotic bear  artistically painted teddy bear in blue 
teddy bear in tune with his environment swiss bear in theatrical eastern clothing  pink fluffy bear like a sea anemone  glass beads make bear sparkle 
two teddies performing circus tricks teddy bear with girls’ names written on it  a bear with a photo of the tour eiffel printed on it  bear with human and animal faces 
bear mother and child with a circus theme mother teddy and her baby all in yellow  bear restaurateur and tiny chef welcome you in  a fit looking teddy on the river bank in zurich 
a bear painted in four panels with facial parts a blue bear with a car bonnet on its front  a red and yellow bear dressed for the piste  Teddy Bear exhibiton Zurich 
mother bear, gold child and chef prepare food Sweden meets a much smaller swiss bears team  Teddy bears, Lake Zurich, Switzerland  bear-038.jpg (188350 Byte)
nautical bear with telescope bear in striped jumper with logo  bear-039.jpg (125171 Byte) bear-040.jpg (119211 Byte)
bear-042.jpg (117874 Byte) bear-043.jpg (120084 Byte) bear-046.jpg (135110 Byte) bear-051.jpg (147564 Byte)
bear-041.jpg (128484 Byte) bear-045.jpg (134995 Byte) bear-044.jpg (113295 Byte) bear-047.jpg (133877 Byte)
bear-048.jpg (151296 Byte) bear-050.jpg (143987 Byte) bear-059.jpg (117454 Byte) bear-053.jpg (135203 Byte)
bear-049.jpg (144781 Byte) bear-052.jpg (165830 Byte) bear-056.jpg (152221 Byte) bear-057.jpg (120763 Byte)
bear-062.jpg (160693 Byte) bear-054.jpg (111664 Byte) bear-060.jpg (130558 Byte) bear-061.jpg (154939 Byte)
bear-055.jpg (153656 Byte) bear-072.jpg (158046 Byte) bear-058.jpg (125552 Byte) bear-068.jpg (148845 Byte)
bear-064.jpg (106594 Byte) bear-063.jpg (130996 Byte) bear-070.jpg (124678 Byte) bear-069.jpg (149703 Byte)
bear-065.jpg (106934 Byte) bear-066.jpg (118433 Byte) bear-071.jpg (122760 Byte) bear-067.jpg (131718 Byte)