David Cerny

More reading on Cerny:


His work reminds me of some of the work I saw when we visited MONA in Hobart – it can be said it is just designed to shock, but it is very effective in stimulating discussion (or outrage) and it is difficult to ignore.

 This sculpture has proved to have the same shock value of some of his pieces; when Viselec was displayed in Grand Rapids, Michigan in the U.S., many panicked phone calls were placed as the people thought the sculpture was someone attempting suicide. Created in 1997, the tiny figure of Sigmund Freud, who hangs by his right arm and has the hand of the other in his left pocket, is said to reflect Černý’s thoughts about the role the intellectual would play in the new millennium. Located on Husova street near Betlémské náměstí, the bearded figure has made the rounds to Malá Strana, Berlin, Stockholm, and London.

Prague Sculpture

Czechs seem to have a great sense of humour, if their public art is anything to go by. These first sculptures are by David Cerny, who gives his work an irreverent twist.

David Cerny  King Wenceslas.

It is located in an arcade (incidentally, the arcade was designed by Vaclav Havel’s grandfather in an Art Nouveau style). The arcade opens off Wenceslas square, where you can see a more conventional statue of King Wenceslas mounted on his horse.

Here is Cerny’s Barcode Baby, off the Campa. The baby’s face is replaced by a barcode.

One of the barcode babies, Prague

Here are some other sculptures from Prague. I would love to be able to attribute them, but I don’t know who made them. If you do, please let me know.

Fly on the chimney.
Fly on a chimney.
Door 'knobs'
Door ‘knobs’, Prague, near Karlov Most.

And so to Prague…

I’m home now, but I couldn’t leave Europe without visiting my son and his wife,  in the Czech Republic. They live in Prague, the beautiful and ancient capital city.

It’s all go in Prague at this time of year.

1.The evening of the 30th April is a time for burning witches. The children dress up as witches, and there are piles of logs on the Campa ready for the festivities.

2. May 1st is International Workers Day. Members of the Czech Communist Party marched through the city.

3. It’s the first official day of summer. In  villages around Prague, the women decorate a tree with ribbons, and the tree is hoisted high. The men of the village are required to guard the decorated tree all night. This gives them a reason to light a fire, sit around and drink with the other men, and stay out all night. The next day is spent recovering.

4. It’s  official kiss a girl under a flowering tree day. Since the Czech landscape is dotted with trees in blossom, you can be pretty disappointed if you don’t score a kiss.

5. On the first day of the month,  Prague city tests its siren. For five minutes. Loudly. Nobody seems to know what exactly it is warning against. But Prague residents are prepared, and they know what to do if one day it sounds a real alarm. Seriously.

I just missed the day when you pretend to shoot someone who is dressed up as a bear, and dance with whoever asks you. I don’t know what it is called.

Fields of yellow summer flowers.

In late Spring and early Summer, Prague parks and the Czech countryside are a carpet of flowers. Trees are in blossom – apple and cherry, mainly – and the air is heavy with their perfume. In some places, the dandelion heads produce a gentle snow of seed fibres, which blows around your ankles and drifts across the road in front of your car. Later in Summer, Czechs can travel into the country and pick cherries or apples from the trees growing by the roadside. There are wild strawberries, and blueberries for the gathering. Coming from a land which has no real seasons, I found it enchanting.

Fields of dandelions.

Spring blossoms in the Czech countryside.