The Official David Černy Prague Sculpture Guide
This is the official David Černy Prague Sculpture Guide. You may have seen David Černy’s most recent piece of work floating along the Vlatva River in October. Built as a large, purple hand with the middle finger elongated and pointed at the Czech Parliamentary building, the sculpture made some publicity in Prague during the elections. Though it may seem as a surprise to foreigners and outsiders, this isn’t the first time the famous Czech artist David Černy has made headlines with his work. In fact the artsy city of Prague is filled with his works, some temporary but many permanent. As an art enthusiast I think of David Černy as one of the most modern, daring, and outspoken artists today. Some will definitely find his work offensive, but for the open-minded you can find his work very to be humorous. As I was able to spend an extended amount of time in Prague I made it a goal to locate as many of his sculptures that I could. Some were easy to find and some…not so not. Here I have put together a little guide to help those of you out there who had just as much curiosity as I did in locating these treasures.
Probably one of the most noticeable and iconic pieces of his collection are the Babies. These babies can be seen crawling around in two locations in Prague. One is the Žižkov TV Tower with 10 of the deformed looking babies crawling along its towers. The other location is at the Kampa Museum of Modern Art on the other side of the Vlatva River. The Žižkov TV tower can be seen anywhere throughout the city as it is the largest building. However, I found one of the easiest ways to be the green subway line down stop Náměstí Jiřího.
If you have the desire to locate the other babies, head over west across the Vlava River to the Kampa Art Museum. A fascinating museum itself, the babies will be located north of the entrance to the museum under a group of trees. If your in Old Town, just walk across the Charles Bridge and go south. You will also see a exhibit of the floods that hit Prague last year in the area as well.
Svatý Václav/Saint Wenceslas Upside Down Horse
Located just south of Wenseclas Square is the well known Lucerna Music Bar. Simply take any tram line to Vaclavske Namesti (Wenseclas Square) and get off. If you look in the south direction you will see the large Lucerna sign. The place hosts a number of different shows, a ballroom, cafes, restaurants, an one of David Černy’s sculptures. Once you find the big Lucerna hall follow the corridor in till you see a number of cafes and restaurants in a dimly lit room. As soon as you take step into the room look up and you will see a horse looking you straight in the face. This is the famous St. Vitus riding his horse.
Not far from the Kampa Art Museum is the Franz Kafka Museum. If you are near the Charles Bridge simply cross the bridge going west and take your first right off the bridge. Follow the windy path that will take you in a circular direction down a hill till you come across a large, wooden gated entrance. There you will see the Franz Kafka Museum and a round, flat fountain in front of it with two men pissing into a pond. The sculptures actually rotate around a bit to add to the lively effect of the clean fountain. As you get a closer peek you will also notice that the sculptures have a layered effect and the shape of the pond is of the Czech Republic. You may see how Mr. Černy is able to stir up some trouble and controversy with his sculptures.
The Red Skull
Up north in Prague District 7 is the modern art museum known as DOX center for contemporary art. Take the red subway line up to Nádraží Holešovice which is a major bus stop. From the stop you will need to head east, across the highway till you come across the cross street called Osadní. Take the street south and you will see along the corner a building with variety of street art and graffiti strewn across it. The building on the outside is fairly colorful so it shouldn’t be hard to miss. You will have to pay to go in the museum to get a closer look at the Red Skull which rotates on top of the museum. The DOX art museum is worth a peek, depending on what exhibits are showing. Can’t say I know what the exact meaning is behind this skull.
Once again, David Černy has another of his sculptures enclosed within a museum. This time it sits within the Futura Art Museum located in Prague 5, on the west side of the Vlatva River. I found the easiest route was to take the 9 tram to Švandovo divadlo, get off and continue walking west along Petrin Hill on Hoečkova street. Follow the path up 15 minutes or so and the building will be on your left. Tread slowly as it is easy to miss the entrance, the actually museum is behind the housing lining the street. Follow the corridor inside and you will see the very modern art museum. I say this, because this museum is as modern art themed as can be, you may consider the objects inside art or you may not. It’s all what you make of it. The Brown-noser sculptures were actually a little tricky to find as I went when it was getting dark. They actually sit outside in the garden area of the museum, leaning against the walls when you step outside. You’ll have some ladders to walk up and stick your head in their arse if that’s your kind of thing. Hence the name….
One of my favorites and most suspenseful to find is the “Hanging out” sculpture of Sigmund Freud. To find this sculpture you must find the tricky routes out of the Old Town Square while keeping your head up. If you are coming from the astronomical clock go southeast while following Staromestké nám down till you hit a dead end. Take the round path left and continue going down south along that street till you come along a fork in the road. Take the “right” path which will be Jalovcová and you will quickly merge into the main street Husova. Follow along that street and your treasure trail will come to an eventual end once you spot Mr. Freud dangling for help. Just keep your head up…it’s not a piece of cake spotting this little guy.
David Černy’s first sculpture and one of controversy as well is the “Quo Vadis” sculpture that is situated in the German Embassy’s backyard. This sculpture I believe is not open to the public, as far as I could understand since its fenced around the German Embassy grounds. The only pics I was able to snap was from the trail behind the embassy. Mr. Černy created this sculpture after the 4000 East Germans who left the garden of the West German Embassy in 1989. After being granted political asylum the Germans left all their Trabants behind. If you’ve still got the curiosity to track this one down simply cross Charles Bridge going west and take a left onto Karmelitská. Then quickly take a right onto Triziste till you come across the US embassy. Once again, you’ll see the forked path and take the left road this time all the way up where you will eventually see the German embassy. Continue past it and you’ll see a playground area. Around this area will be a small path that goes behind the fences and next to the hill that sits behind. Follow the path that will loop you around to the back of the embassy where you can peek into the fences and get the shot you’ve been itching for.
This is the one sculpture I didn’t get a chance to go discover unfortunately. There always seems to a thing or two you happen to forget about when traveling. Anyhow the sculpture supposedly lights up at night giving off an eery red glow. It is also supposed to be easy to miss, just like Mr. Hanging Man. It’s engulfed on the corner of Divadlo na Zabradli within a drain pipe.
Last but not least the Meet Factory. Mr. David Černy turned this once old, industrial factory into an artist gallery and music venue. You get the vibe that its kind of a place where artsy, indie, music punky kids come to hang out at. However, the place attracts a wide variety of people there for the different art galleries that take place and creative music artists that stroll through for shows. I was able to make one show on a Friday night with some friends and was definitely surprised by the amount of people that came out for it. The venue is situated pretty far out of the main Prague city limits and take at least a half hour to get to by public transport. However, I do recommend giving it a visit, at least to catch a show once while you can. The place is easily spottable by the melted looking red vehicles that sit right above the entrance. Take the 14 tram down to Lihovar stop and walk up a hill. You will see the Meet Factory logo imprinted along the sidewalk on the way up to help guide you there.
And there you have it! Every one of David Černy’s sculptures in Prague located and directions made just for you. I really enjoy Mr. Černy’s work and hope you do the same trying to track down each work that is currently up. Good luck hunting and utilize the David Černy Prague Sculpture Guide!