Showing posts with label Entropa. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Entropa. Show all posts

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Bravo David Černý! You Have Europe Giggling Again. This time with your Red London Double Decker Bus doing pushups!

Longtime readers of the Empty Nest Expat blog know I am a huge fan of Czech artist David Černý and his very Czech brand of irreverance and black humor. His sculpture created to see if Europe could laugh at itself, "Entropa," certainly provided entertainment for me and my Czech friends when he created it in 2009.

"Entropa" was the official art chosen by the Czech Republic to represent itself when the Czech Republic held the Presidency of the European Union. It seemed only Czechs got the humor. I loved it.  I was so grateful to have seen it myself in the flesh when I went back to Prague a second time. By then it had been moved from Brussells to DOX Contemporary Art Museum in Prague.You can read more of my posts about him here.

This time I don't see how he can fail to make the whole world smile. Look at what he has created for the London Olympics: a bright red London double decker bus doing push-ups!
How can we not smile?
Iconic bus doing iconic exercises!
No, it really does do the exercises!
Černý built in hydraulics to make it happen.

I love seeing tiny Czech Republic,
with a mere 10 million citizens
represent itself so above 'its weight class'
at the Olympic games
with their irreverant humor.
I believe Černý's bus will delight worldwide!

What do you think of David Černý's bus
named "London Boosted?"
Does it make you smile?

Is there an artist you have discovered in your travels
you think the whole world should know about?
Who is it?

Click on this wonderful Daily Mail article to see more photos of David Černý
assembling his bus and to see the video of it in action!

You might also enjoy these posts:

Saturday, September 5, 2009

The Saturday Profile: With Sharp Satire, Enfant Terrible Challenges Czech Identity

David Cerny at the Franz Kafka Museum
with his two pissing men

Yea, I don't care what this guy at the National Gallery says in this article about David Cerny as an artist, David Cerny rocks. The mischievous side in Czechs is to be encouraged. David Cerny does and says out loud what Czechs could if they gave themselves permission.

What is even cooler, is that David Cerny with all of his finger-poking, is as connected to the Czech political establishment as any artist could be. The politicians appreciate him and are willing to defend him and fund him. Read the Saturday Profile in the New York Times to learn more about this incredibly fun artist.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

A Sizzling Critique of Czech Political Leadership

Will he or won't he?
Vaclav Klaus loves to 'keep them guessing'
when it comes to his endorsement
of the Lisbon Treaty.

Ouch! This New York Times article has nothing nice to say about Czech political leadership during the EU presidency. My own observation is that Czechs are used to being governed and not yet so used to governing themselves. It's their first generation of really running their own show. The people haven't quite discovered their power yet and the quality of politics in the C.R. reflect that. You can read the article by clicking on my title.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Gallery Crawling in Prague? Get Out the G.P.S.

Dox Museum of Contemporary Arts

There's a nice article in the New York Times today celebrating the growth of great art in Prague. It's a bit of work to find all of the good galleries since they are not all in one district. DOX, the brand new, very exciting contemporary art museum, was the first reason I had to go to Holesovice, a nice Prague neighborhood where lots of natives live. I would so love to see David Cerny's political artwork, Entropa, currently on display there.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The Kundera Conundrum

Here's an interesting article that appeared in "The Nation" about the accusations against Kundera that shows the tyranny of reputation-shredding works in all political systems from totalitarianism to capitalism.

I love what Kundera was quoted as saying about Bohumil Hrabel in this piece as well.

There's also a bit in here about Cerny's Entropa. Why is it only the Czechs seem to get Cerny's humor? I think Entropa is wonderful but it seems the rest of the world can't take a joke. Geez, lighten up.

The Kundera Conundrum

Sunday, March 22, 2009

"The Flip Side of Fear is Understanding"

European travel entrepreneur, Rick Steves gave a powerful interview to asking his fellow Americans to get out and see the world so they can "get over themselves." I promise you there is something, probably many things, in this article that will make you think. It's worth your attention.

My favorite part of the whole article is when he talks about how Americans and Iranians are letting their fears trump their values.

He even might have taken a swipe at David Cerny's infamous Turkish toilets depicted in the sculpture Entropa. Here's a smidgen of what Rick had to say:

Interviewer: What's the most important thing people can learn from traveling?

Rick: A broader perspective. They can see themselves as part of a family of humankind. It's just quite an adjustment to find out that the people who sit on toilets on this planet are the odd ones. Most people squat. You're raised thinking this is the civilized way to go to the bathroom. But it's not. It's the Western way to go to the bathroom. But it's not more civilized than somebody who squats. A man in Afghanistan once told me that a third of this planet eats with spoons and forks, and a third of the planet eats with chopsticks, and a third eats with their fingers. And they're all just as civilized as one another.

Click on my title to read the full article.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

It's David Cerny Appreciation Week

It's David Cerny Appreciation Week here at the Empty Nest Expat Blog. David Cerny is a delightfully provocative artist native to the Czech Republic. He has just spent the last week amusing or embarrassing the entire Czech nation (according to one's view) with his sculpture celebrating the Czech Presidency of the European Union. First, some background on his past politically artistic acts.

According to Radio Praha:
Prague's Kinsky Square was for many decades called The Square of Soviet Tank Crews. It was because a huge Soviet tank, a memorial to the liberation of Czechoslovakia in 1945, used to stand there on a 5-metre pedestal, its barrel menacingly pointing at a tram stop. Until one morning, in the spring of 1991, locals woke up and could not believe their eyes. The tank had turned pink overnight.

The Radio Station described that David Cerny, was only 23 when he covered the green tank in pink paint making it look rather like piece of candy. But his act was seen by many as an outrage against the Soviet liberators of Prague.

More than a symbol of the liberation of Prague by the Red Army in May 1945, for many Czechs the tank became a reminder of the Soviet-led occupation of Czechoslovakia in 1968.

"Having to pass this symbol of the Russian dictatorship which was here since I was born, I did not take the tank as a symbol of freedom - the end of the Second World War."

Of course, the Czechoslovak Army would have no such nonsense as a pink tank, so three days later soldiers arrived with buckets of paint and gave the tank a new green coat. Ten days after that a group of parliament deputies repainted it pink again in support of David Cerny's act."

I often pass the pink tank spot from the tram and, of course, enjoy it's symbolism. The authorities hauled away the original pink tank to be politically correct but a new one has replaced it.

He also decorated a Soviet-era TV Tower with little black babies that climb up the tower.

And then, of course, there is perhaps his most famous work after the pink tank. His pissing sculpture which shows two men pissing on a map of the Czech Republic. Now anyone who could create that is surely not a man who takes himself or his country too seriously. Lighten up, he seems to be saying.

'Entropa' created by artist David Cerny

This week, the sculpture that the Czech nation had commissioned him to do celebrating the Czech presidency of the EU was to be unveiled. Cerny and a couple friends put the whole scupture together themselves even though they presented a document listing 27 fictitious artists from all the member nations as participants. What fun they must have had dreaming this up!

I officially declare it David Cerny Appreciation Week at Empty Nest Expat Blog because I have had so much fun with my English Language students discussing news articles about this sculpture. Cerny said it was created to see if "Europe could laugh at itself." I loved asking my classes if Czech people should be proud their famous humor was on display. What do you think, gentle blog readers? Or should Czechs be embarrassed a few countries aren't displaying any humor in return about their own depiction?

Radio Netherlands Worldwide explains:

The map of France is emblazoned with the word greve, which is French for strike. Sweden is represented as a piece of flatpack furniture, Britain does not appear at all and Bulgaria is the floor of a toilet [actually, it's the floor of a Turkish toilet which consists of two shoe marks and a hole in the ground. One of my students felt that was a comment on whether Bulgaria really fit in with the rest of 'civilized Europe' since they haven't yet availed themselves of Western plumbing]. Romania is a Dracula theme park and Poland, one of the most conservative countries in the EU, has priests waving a rainbow flag, a symbol used by gay and lesbian activists. Denmark has been made entirely from Legos and the Netherlands is represented as a sea with minarets rising from the waves.

Cerny explains his depiction of the Czech Republic:

"Let the head of state have his say! A constant stream of brilliant Václav Klaus quotes. Words of wisdom that deserve to be etched in stone. The President’s sublime, pertinent comments about the whole world, and especially the EU, whizzing across a three-line alphanumeric LED display. He is OUR president, we elected him, so let’s show him off to the world with joy in our hearts. He’s not just a skier, he’s a great guy!"

Thank you David Cerny for accomplishing exactly what you set out to do. Europe is laughing. Maybe it's howling too, but for the most part, it's laughing.
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