Persona May, 13th 2021 by

World Artists and their Story, 44 - David Černý 

cerny – 1-Pink Tank

World Artists and their Story, 44 – David Černý 

The most famous (and most infamous) artist in the Czech Republic is David Černý. Many works by this sculptor can be seen in the capital Prague. Černý likes to comment on politics and his works are controversial. But that was also the intention.

cerny – 2-Tower Babies

David Černý is a creative rebel not only because of his unusual rock star image in the Czech Republic, but in particular because of his art. Černý’s art provokes. The satirical and confrontational images criticize the art world and society. Černý takes a different look at the absurdity of everyday life.

cerny – 3 Brown Nosers

Humor and a nod to politics

He wakes up the audience with his sculptures and installations and this playful approach does him no harm. Humor with a nod to politics is a constant in his work. He has exhibited all over the world and continues to love playing jokes and mystification’s. Most of David Černý’s work can be admired in the public space. In addition to traditional art, he has also been involved in cultural activism, filming and techno music in recent years.

cerny – 4 Shark

Pink tank

David Černý first rose to fame when he painted a Soviet tank pink on Kinský Square in Prague in 1991. It was a monument to Soviet tank crews in World War II. His act was considered civil disobedience. President Vaclav Havel spoke of an “understandable expression of youthful feelings.” Only the Czechoslovak authorities and the Russian government were less fond of the artwork. Cerný was convicted of vandalism and the tank was repainted to its original olive green color as soon as possible.

cerny – 5 Entropa

Tower Babies

That did not hinder his growing fame. He received many commissions and made, among other things, ‘Tower Babies’ in 2000, babies who climbed the Žižkov TV tower, in 2003, ‘Brown nosers’ and in 2004 the humorous ‘The Piss’ – two bronze statues urinating in front of the Franz Kafka-museum.

The two brown ‘noser sculptures’ are hidden in the backyard of Futura, an art museum. The gigantic, naked lower halves of two bodies are bent over and lean against the side of the building, revealing their rather gaping openings.

cerny – 6 Metalmorphosis

Viewers are invited to climb the ladder that leads to the macroscopic derrieres and put their heads in the behemoths. There is a television screen where a video is played of two Czech politicians feeding each other with a spoon with the music “We Are the Champions” by Queen in the background. It was Černý’s interpretation of the state of Czech politics.

cerny – 7 Head of Frank Kafka


In 2005, Černý created “Shark”, an image of Saddam Hussein in a tank of formaldehyde. The work was presented at the second Prague Biennale. The work is a direct parody of Damien Hirst’s Shark, “The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living” from 1991.

On the occasion of the Czech Presidency of Europe in 2009, he created “Entropa”. The statue was originally on display in the Justus Lipsius building in Brussels. From 2010 to 2012, the statue was on display at the Techmania Science Center in Pilsen. Every European country had an appropriate image in the whole. Some countries were angry, for example Bulgaria. That was represented by a collection of squat toilets.

cerny – 8 London Booster


In 2011, Černý created Metalmorphosis, a mirror sculpture, for Whitehall Technology Park in Charlotte, North Carolina. The work consists of nearly 40 steel pieces grouped into seven segments that can independently rotate 360 degrees. The mouth spits water into an adjacent pond. In 2014 he created a similar outdoor sculpture in Prague called “Head of Franz Kafka”.

For the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, Černý created “London Booster” – a double-decker bus with mechanical arms for push-ups.

cerny – 9 King Wenceslas on a horse

Upside-down horse

In 2013, a purple middle finger, almost five meters long, floated on a pontoon on the Vltava near the Charles Bridge. It pointed in the direction of Prague Castle, where President, Milos Zeman, was seated. In this way David Cerny wanted to warn the population for a return of repressive politics.

Particularly popular in Prague is the upside-down horse, ridden by Saint Wenceslas. It hangs from the ceiling of the Art Nouveau Lucerna Palace. The old king triumphantly rides astride an upside-down, apparently dead horse.

cerny – 10 David Černý

Černý was born in Prague in 1967. From 1988 to 1994 he studied at the Kurt Gebauer Studio at the Academy of Art, Architecture and Design in Prague, In 1994/95 he was able to become an artist in residence at PSI in New York and after a while he also entered the Whitney Museum Independent Study Program in New York.

He went back to Prague and then his career really took off.


1) Pink Tank, 2) Tower Babies, 3) Brown Nosers, 4) Shark, 5) Entropa, 6) Metalmorphos

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