Author of Entropa plans provocative new artwork

16-10-2009

Anyone even mildly familiar with the Czech art scene will have heard of David Černý, the 41 year-old artist who made international headlines earlier this year with Entropa – a controversial artwork that parodied national stereotypes within the EU. After disappearing from the public eye for some time, Černý is back – promising a new work that seems just as likely to cause a stir.

To his credit, David Černý has lost no willingness to surprise over the years, or shock, from when he first painted a Russian tank pink after the Velvet Revolution to orchestrating an elaborate art hoax this year which left the Czech EU Presidency red-faced. Don’t remember? It was the one where he depicted Bulgaria as a Turkish squat toilet, and pretended that what was largely his work was that of 27 different European artists. Now, it has been announced, Černý will work on an enormous new project in the Czech capital – a sculpture for a planned new business and shopping complex to be built at the site of the Národní třída metro.

The planned artwork, which won in a private tender, will reportedly feature some 30 enormous hanging penises - yes, you read that correctly - to depict the Czech political scene. Each one will come with a screen displaying the names of one of the country’s MPs, rotating by size according to individual politicians’ current dominance. The artist, upset over recent events in politics, including the collapse of the centre-right government during the EU presidency, is clearly planning on hitting back at the country’s political elite. Here’s what he told me when he discussed the project earlier:

“I am quite disappointed by the political situation here since what happened in the Spring. This is supposed to be just off of Národní street and so we discussed with the investors what to do and thought this might be funny.”

The longest phallus will be 18 metres, is that correct?

“18 metres, yeah.”

And what will be the smallest? Do you know yet?

“Around 2 metres but the smallest won’t be in the same state of ‘solid’.”

{laughs} Okay, so basically some will be more erect than others…

“Well none of them will really be erect of course, just soft and wanna-be erect.”

Such a satirical artwork seems destined to draw numerous protests already. But Mr Černý says he’s not at all worried:

“Sure, of course, I really hope that Parliament will send a protest against the building of this.”

For now it is early days and even the artist admits the work may change from the planning stages. Some, meanwhile, are wondering whether the provocative artwork, which is to made in bronze, will really be made - suggesting instead it could all just be another elaborate joke, designed to gain public attention. Certainly notoriety in the art world is something that David Černý has never had any problems achieving.

16-10-2009