Guardians of Time: Mystic Sculpture by Manfred Kielnhofer

(All images (unless stated otherwise) by Manfred Kielnhofer, via

Modern humanoid sculptures previously reported include the commanding Angel of the North and the divisive iron figures at Crosby Beach near Liverpool.  But they don’t come any more mysterious than the Time Guards (or Timeguards) by Austrian artist Manfred Kielnhofer, which have a habit of appearing abruptly in public places one day and vanishing the next.

Kielnhofer created his first Time Guard in 2006.  Drawing on religious and mystic experiences, the artist produced a life-sized figure cloaked in a hooded robe, resembling a wandering druid or monk deep in meditation.  Paranormal proponents might liken the Time Guards to the traditional hooded phantom, or even the Grim Reaper, while the nine Nazgul may spring to the minds of Lord of the Rings fans.

In mythology (or perhaps contemporary science fiction!) the Guardians of Time were an esoteric collective of time-travellers, influenced by Celtic tradition, who kept an eye on the earth and intervened at certain points in our history.  Likened to high priests or even gods, they had the power to protect or destroy.

By day there’s an intriguing spookiness to Kielnhofer’s Time Guards, but when night falls they light-up to become positively haunting figures on the landscape – albeit powered by 32W energy-saving bulbs.  In keeping with the legend, they appear without warning in public places such as ancient castles, city parks, abandoned mines and town squares.  Nobody knows where they will appear next, helping to fuel the feeling of being watched.

Manfred Kielnhofer graduated from the Technical College Linz in 1995 and has lived as a free artist in Linz since 2000.  He launched Artpark Gallery in 2005 and facilitated Light Art Biennale Austria 2010.  Kielnhofer has reportedly refused to disclose his personal intentions behind the Time Guards, leaving it to the individual to personally interpret the ghostly figures.  (Photographs above, unless stated, via  See more of Manfred’s work on Facebook.)

Keep reading – check out The Last Supper, a creepy “ghosts” sculpture near Rhyolite ghost town.

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