Sculptor David Černý drew attention to himself for the first time in 1990, when he was 23 years old. That’s when he created the Quo Vadis sculpture – Trabant, a plastic car produced in the German Democratic Republic on giant legs. The sculpture was a symbol of the mass exodus of Germans from the GDR who came to Prague in the summer and autumn of 1989, leaving their unlocked Trabants and keys on the streets and climbing over the fence to the territory of the embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany in the Lesser Town.
Another significant statue of David Černý is the Pink Tank in Smíchov. Just in short: Russian tank number 23 stood in Smíchov as a symbol of the liberation of Prague. However, after 1968, the tank became for us a symbol of the occupation by the Russian army, and therefore it was hated. That`s why David Černý painted the tank pink in 1991.
The torso of another tank was placed by David Černý in Smíchov on August 21, 2018, the day of the 50th anniversary of the Russian occupation. This torso is still in Kinský Square today, painted in Ukrainian colors, yellow and blue. The tank was painted over after Russia invaded Ukraine earlier this year.
David Černý is perceived as a very hard-working but also controversial artist. This opinion was reinforced in 2004 by the installation of bronze sculptures in the courtyard of Herget’ Brickworks in the Lesser Town. The work is called Peeing Figures and it is two large male figures urinating in a pool in the shape of the Czech Republic. The sculptures can rotate their hips and raise their penis so that the water stream draws letters on the surface of the water.
David Černý said about this sculpture: “The metropolises of Eastern Europe are recognizable by the fact that grown men here in various degrees of drunkenness are not ashamed to urinate on the street. Western European metropolises boast of fountains, that cute little boys pee on and we have men, even live ones.”