Quidam leaving town?

An article written by Mike Coffen for the Modesto Bee in Modesto, California, details how a statue built for Cirque du Soleil in 1997, when Quidam first toured the United States, is being moved…

Headless guy getting out of town

Workmen remove the Quidam figure from the Roberts Auto Sales lot on McHenry Avenue on Thursday night. The statue was built in 1997 for Cirque du Soleil, the French Canadian theatrical circus troupe.

You can read excerpts of this article within this post or read the full article at the Modesto Bee Website: http://www.modbee.com/local/story/11663253p-12391496c.html

Quidam, the 40-foot-tall headless statue that stood in front of Roberts Auto Sales on McHenry Avenue for five years, is there no more.

But he isn’t going far. He will soon reside at The Fruit Yard restaurant and store on Highway 132 between Empire and Waterford.

Quidam was dismantled Thursday night after the city of Modesto determined the statue did not meet city sign rules.

The fact the statue resided outside the city limit probably left Quidam scratching his head, if he had a head to scratch.

It all has to do with the city’s sphere of influence, a term for an area that’s going to become part of the city in the future.


Built for Cirque du Soleil

The statue was built in 1997 out of metal pipes, wire mesh, fiberglass and paint by artists Chris Irish and Greg Cunningham, both of whom worked for JCD Concept 2000 of Turlock. It was built for $30,000 for Cirque du Soleil, a French Canadian theatrical circus. That year, the circus was touring the United States and was using Quidam as its main theme.

Although Roberts would not say how much he paid for the statue, he said it was a fraction of its original cost. Quidam is Latin for “someone who is unknown.” In literature, the figure of Quidam often represents an anonymous traveler and the journey through life. It’s headless because the face usually is represented in art as a bright spot of light.

After the circus completed its tour of the Western states, the statue was returned to JCD Concept 2000.

Roberts bought the statue in 2001 and put it on his car lot.

“We thought it was a unique piece of art and thought others would be interested in seeing it again,” Roberts said.

It fell over shortly after it was put up and had to be rebuilt, he said. In 2002, the umbrella blew off, Roberts said. The umbrella stayed off until late last year, he added.

Thursday, JCD employees took it down.

Greg Cunningham, president of JCD, said Quidam simply is traveling to his next destination.

“Quidam is going to The FruitYard,” he said, “Long live Quidam.”

Fruit Yard owner Joe Traina said he plans on applying for county permits, anchoring the statue in concrete and putting up a sign explaining the statue’s significance.

“It’s a great looking statue and will be well taken care of,” Traina said.