David Cerny in Prague
Discovering David Cerny’s work in Prague is a great alternative to the picturesque Old Town. Especially that often his quirky pieces are located only few steps away from the main tourist sites! Here’s a little overview of the best sculptures and where to find them:
Every visitor to Prague knows the statue of St. Wenceslas on the horse, guarding the huge square named after the Saint. In the middle of that very square, inside of the Lucerna passage, is another sculpture of St. Wenceslas on the horse but this time the animal is dead. Originally this piece was supposed to be located inside of the main post office building but eventually the chief of the post office said it was too much (without specifying what exactly “too much” is) and a new location had to be found. Cerny hardly ever comments on the meaning of his work but it is believed that the dead horse is an allusion to a former Czech president Vaclav Klaus (speaking of him, have you seen the video when he steals a pen? Priceless!)
Zizkov TV tower, the highest one in Czech Republic, doesn’t have a very good reputation among locals who often call it a driller. In year 2000, when Prague was among cities of culture, Cerny was asked to do an art installation on the tower and that’s how the devilish babies were born. There’re nine of them crawling up the TV tower and three more guarding the entrance to Museum Kampa close to the Charles Bridge. They look like regular babies, only with slot machines as their faces…
When walking Husova street in the Old Town it’s worth to look up as a over there a small figure of Sigmund Freud is casually hanging from the red rooftop. He looks like he’s about to commit a suicide, holding a beam only with one hand. The sculpture is Cerny’s answer to the question of the role of the intellectuals in the new millennium (this piece was made in 1997)
Not far from hanging Sigmund Freud another piece by David Cerny in Prague – Embyo – can be found. Glued to the side of the local theatre – Divadlo na Zabradli – shows a fetus trying to squeeze through a drain pipe. Apparently it shows the difficult way the art is made and how it is difficult for artist to create in the narrow-minded world, how random people don’t always understand the meaning of art.
My favourite piece by David Cerny in Prague! At the courtyard of Kafka Museum two guys are pissing into the tank that has a shape of Czech Republic. They are not standing still but moving their hips so they write with their pee quotes by famous residents of Prague. If you want your sentence being written on Czech Republic just text it to the number written next to the statue and the mannequins will piss it too! The story behind the sculpture is simple – it shows what Cerny thought of Czech Republic joining European Union!
This short sentence literally means “where are you going?” and is a perfect name to the car on legs sculpture than can be found in the garden of the German Embassy in Mala Strana. In summer 1989 thousands of East Germany citizens came to this place asking for asylum in the neighbour West. Of course they got it hence they had to leave all their Trabant cars behind. Some people say the Trabant in the sculpture means the communism system and the question is where the new reality would lead.
It’s quite a journey to get to Galeria Futura in Smichov but it’s well worth the time and effort as probably the most spectacular of Cerny’s sculpture is located there! Two big figures are leaning towards the wall, with ladders leading to their asses. Once you climb there you can watch a movie of former Czech president Vaclav Klaus and the head of National Gallery feeding each other with a spoon. It is said the sculpture is a metaphor of Czech politics but I think it refers to just about every country.
Bus stop in Liberec
A little bonus away from Prague. Liberec is one of the biggest and coolest Czech cities located in north-west part of the country. Before the Second World War the city was mostly German who in 1938 expelled all the Czechs, 7 years later the roles turned around. Not long ago the city ordered a bus stop from David Cerny but instead he created a table with all dark aspects of Liberec’s history on it: an overthrown menorah, Czech and German beer mugs or the head of Konrad Henlein (an infamous local Nazi politician) with a fork stick into it. The bus stop is located just behind the town hall in Liberec.
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Where to find works by David Cerny in Prague
And here’s a map with all the locations where David Cerny’s work in Prague can be found:
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If you think of visiting Czech Republic or just want to read more about the country take a look what else I wrote about it:
- Visit Brno – a perfect Central European city
- Best cafes in Prague
- Where to look for street art in Prague
- and more!
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