(p. 10) Prague is sprinkled with provocative pieces by Mr. Cerny — a sculpture of a urinating man (directly in front of the Franz Kafka Museum), a statue of the Czech patron saint King Wenceslas sitting on an upside down dead horse.
His most recent installation in Prague is a sculpture of Kafka’s head, set behind the Tesco department store in the center of town. The 36-foot-high head is made up of 42 moving chrome-plated layers, which move both in synchronicity and in opposing directions.
Mr. Cerny’s original idea was a fountain featuring three figures: a robot, referencing the Czech-language writer Karel Capek, who coined the term; a Golem, representing the Yiddish language; and Kafka’s beetle, referring to the German language. “I wanted to remind people that Prague was once a city of three languages,” Mr. Cerny said.
Unfortunately, city water regulations prevented him from placing a fountain there, so instead he came up with the huge reflecting Kafka head, which is based on similar work of his on display in Charlotte, N.C., called “Metalmorphosis.”
“I loved the irony that this sculpture faces a city government building in Prague,” he said. “Imagine you’re angry because the clerks are doing nothing, only saying for you to go to another office and then another office and another until finally you hear, ‘This office is closed.’ And then you walk out of the building, and there’s the huge head of Kafka looking at you, reminding you of the irony.”
For the full story, see:
DAVID FARLEY. “Footsteps; Prague; On the Trail of Kafka’s Legacy.” The New York Times, Travel Section (Sun., DEC. 27, 2015): 10.
(Note: ellipses, and bracketed dates, added.)
(Note: the online version of the story has the date DEC. 22, 2015, and has the title “Footsteps; On the Trail of Kafka in Prague.”)