David Cerny, Kafkas Head
David Cerny, Kafkas Head

The Modern Art of David Cerny

David Cerny

Last Updated: Jan 19, 2018 @ 7:40 pm with 2050 views

Man on a Mission

In English you say it like David Cherny. I was never a great fan of what might be considered modern art and on my rounds of the “modern” museums of Prague I never found anything to really get excited about. Then one day I had just left the Kampa modern art museum and bumped into three large metal babies. This was my introduction to David Cerny and I never looked back. Remember that the Art of David Cerny on the Prague City Walking Tour does not include the Pink Tank or the Walking Trabant.

The Pink Tank

The first thing you’ll learn about David Cerny is that in 1991 he was studying Art at University and we just happened to have a National Monument in the city called the National Monument to Russian Tank Crews (it was an SS80 tank). One night David Cerny collects a bucket of pink paint, goes to this “National Monument” and began painting it pink. It was not long before the police arrested him, the tank being outside of the Courts of Justice and he spent some time in the cells but David Černy would be forever linked with protest and frankly, bizarre art.

Kafka’s Head

This is the picture on the top of this page. Remember, this is not the statue next to the Jewish Synagogue. This one is behind the Quadrio Shopping centre in the New Town and if it’s running then it is quite mesmerizing to watch the display. This is a commercial commission but it’s not the latest work that he has done. You can see the video on my YouTube Channel.

The Babies (Kampa Park)

This was the first David Cerny art I ever saw but it was years later that I learned the full story. The original commission for 13 babies had come from the Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art but having blown the budget, they could only pay for three. Years later when living in the Prague 3 district he was asked if he could create something for the Prague City of Culture (2000) to bring people to the area so he returned to his “Babies” again by creating another ten of them.

The Hanging Man

This is usually the first piece of David Cerny art that people see although they don’t realise it. Located in Husova in the Old Town and suspended about 20 metres from the ground. He looks a bit like Lenin but he’s actually Sigmund Freud. And what’s he doing hanging there with his hand in his pocket not looking very concerned? David Cerny captures something very specific about the life of Sigmund Freud and there’s a Chicago story as well.

The Hanging Dead Horse

Located in the Lucerna passage since 1999. You could not call David Cerny a Monarchist and here he goes out of his way to present King Wenceslas in a very unflattering way. But the story is not in the art. It’s in the location.

The Pissing Men

Anybody exploring the Mala Strana side of town will really walk along only two roads and one of them will lead to a restaurant that has two apparently naked men peeing into a pond shaped like the Czech Republic. Who they are, what they are doing.

The Walking Trabant

Going back to the events of the Berlin Wall coming down in 1989, David Cerny recorded the sheer volume of Trabants coming from East Berlin over to West Berlin in a unique art form which can be seen if I’m doing a private tour which explores the area below Petrin Park.

So if you want to see his “Booster Bus” at work, learn more about any of the exhibits above and even some that are off the beaten path then check the Art of David Cerny on the Prague City Walking Tour and I’ll even tell you how to see the piece below.

David Cerny, Brown Nosing

David Cerny, Brown Nosing

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