David Černý

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David Černý
Born (1967-12-15) December 15, 1967 (age 47)
Prague, Czech Republic
Nationality Czech
Occupation Sculptor

David Černý (born December 15, 1967) is a Czech sculptor. His works can be seen in many locations in Prague.

Early life[edit]

Černý was born in Prague.


He gained notoriety in 1991 by painting a Soviet tank pink, to serve as a war memorial in central Prague.[1] As the Monument to Soviet tank crews was still a national cultural monument at that time, his act of civil disobedience was considered "hooliganism" and he was briefly arrested.

Another of Černý's conspicuous contributions to Prague is "Tower Babies," a series of cast figures of crawling infants attached to Žižkov Television Tower.

In 2005, Černý created Shark, an image of Saddam Hussein in a tank of formaldehyde. The work was presented at the Prague Biennale 2 that same year. The work is a direct parody of a 1991 work by Damien Hirst, The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living. In 2006, the work was banned twice, first in Middelkerke, Belgium, then in Bielsko-Biała, Poland.[2] With respect to the Belgian situation, the mayor of that town, Michel Landuyt, admitted that he was worried that the exhibit could "shock people, including Muslims" in a year already marred by tensions associated with Danish cartoons depicting the prophet Mohammed.[3]

The Deputy Mayor of Bielsko-Biała, Zbigniew Michniowski, contacted the city-funded gallery, galeria BWA on September 9, 2006 and threatened dire consequences if the artwork were not removed promptly[citation needed]. In response, Shark was transported to the Szara gallery, in the nearby town of Cieszyn. The mayor of Cieszyn, Bogdan Ficek, distanced himself from Bielsko-Biała City Hall's values. "I can not see any reason a politician should censor art," Ficek said.[4]

His Entropa, created to mark the Czech presidency of the European Union Council during the first half of 2009, attracted controversy both for its stereotyped depictions of the various EU member states, and because it turned out to have been created by Černý and two friends rather than, as promised, being a collaboration between artists from each of the member states.[5][6] Some EU members states reacted negatively to the depiction of their country. For instance, Bulgaria decided to summon the Czech Ambassador to Sofia in order to discuss the illustration of the Balkan country as a collection of squat toilets.[7]

For 2012 Summer Olympics Černý created "London Booster" - a double decker bus with mechanical arms for doing push-ups.[8]


In 2000, Černý won the Jindřich Chalupecký Award.[9]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "DAVID ČERNÝ'S METALMORPHOSIS". Atlas Obscura. Retrieved April 15, 2014. 
  2. ^ "FileRoom.org - David Cerny's artwork "Shark" pulled from exibition called "Shadows of humor"". www.thefileroom.org. Retrieved 2015-11-28. 
  3. ^ Floating Saddam banned
  4. ^ Gazeta Wyborcza, September 10, 2006
  5. ^ "Czech EU art stokes controversy". BBC. 2009-01-14. Retrieved 2015-11-28. 
  6. ^ Lyall, Sarah (2009-01-14). "Art Hoax Unites Europe in Displeasure". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2015-11-28. 
  7. ^ "Czech sculptor Cerny apologises to govt for EU mystification". www.ceskenoviny.cz. Archived from the original on 2009-06-29. 
  8. ^ "Watch a double-decker do push-ups". Top Gear. Retrieved 2015-11-28. 
  9. ^ "Laureates". Jindřich Chalupecký Society. Retrieved 7 June 2011. 

External links[edit]