Sculptures of Rebellion Favorite 



Oct 23 2013


Prague, Czech Republic

David Černý has been called "l'enfant terrible" of Czech art. Since 1991, Černý continues to produce some of Czech Republic’s most famous political sculptures. His grand sculptures are almost always mocking the system through humor. Many of his well-known pieces remain as public art and have sparked much conversation. Examples of these can be found littered around Prague. If you find yourself in the garden of the Futura Centre for Contemporary Art in Smíchov, you can check out Černý’s piece called “Brownnosing” from 2003. This sculpture is comprised of two sets of 17-foot legs that are bending at the waist. Both have a ladder attached to the buttocks, so that visitors can climb up and take a look into the rectum where a video of the second president of the Czech Republic, Vaclav Klaus, and former director of the National Gallery, Milan Knížák, are erotically feeding one another to the tune of Queen’s “We Are The Champions.”

One of Černý’s most radical moves that gained him an even wider international recognition was with his “Entropa” piece created in 2009. Initially, the piece was commissioned by the Czech government for Černý and 27 artists of the European Union to commemorate the six-month mark of the Czech presidency for the European Union Council in Brussels. Considering Černý had organized the project, the whole of Europe should have known they were in for a big surprise.
In spite of what the council believed Černý was actually creating, he and two other artists manipulated the project to look as if 27 artists were collaborating to create this “Entropa” sculpture by producing a fake catalogue illustrating the 27 artworks along with phony artist descriptions and websites. No one knew the reality of the situation till the day of the opening, and to put it politely, the council was not pleased. He had created a 172-square-foot piece, weighing 8 tons, and depicting stereotypes of 27 countries, unified by a plastic-like frame that resembles the snap-out parts of a modeling kit. Romania was represented with a Dracula theme park, Luxembourg was painted gold and carried a “for sale” sign, France had a banner with the word in French for strike across it, and Slovakia was a wrapped-up corpse, while Bulgaria was portrayed as the floor of urinals. Some other representations were taken more lightheartedly, like Italy’s soccer-crazed portrayal.

Even though he is known for creating pieces to “piss people off,” Černý admitted that he “wanted to know if Europe could laugh at itself.” At that time, Czech deputy Prime Minister, Alexandr Vondra, explained that, “Sculpture, and art more generally, can speak where words fail. I am confident in Europe’s open mind and capacity to appreciate such a project.” It's interesting to note the project title, which is a play off of the “Czech word, ‘Evropa,’ meaning Europe and ‘entropy,’ meaning disorder.”

Although the Czech Republic just two decades ago lived in fear and extreme censorship, Černý refuses to continue the silence. Thus, with his creative imagination, he criticizes the present-day system without fear. In a New York Times article from 2009, Černý explains that since the fall of the regime, “the Czechs can’t get out of their ‘be careful’ mentality. It is in our brains and in our bodies because of decades of watching out, of worrying that your neighbors are spying on you.”

His latest piece is a ten-meter purple middle finger, situated on a barge in the Vltava river, directly flipping off the Prague Castle, which is the seat of the presidency.

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