Prague has numerous outdoor art pieces, many beautiful, all interesting or thought-provoking, some rather crude or risqué.
Two that our group commented on were what we called “The Penis Statues”.
One is inside the entrance gates of the Franz Kafka Museum in Mala Strana, the area along the River Vltava below the Castle hill. We were going to eat at the Malastranska Pivnice (Beer Hall), which is basically opposite the entrance to the Kafka Museum.
The statue is called Piss (Proudy), by David Černý, known as Prague’s rebel artist. His creations can be found throughout Prague, all of which tend to provoke strong reactions.
This one from 2004 consists of two male statues that relieve themselves in a metal pool of water shaped like the map of the Czech Republic. While they are peeing, the two figures move realistically. An electric mechanism swivels the upper part of the body, while the penis goes up and down. The stream of water “writes” quotes from famous Prague residents.
Visitor can interrupt them by sending an SMS message from their mobile phones to a number displayed next to the sculptures. The statue then “writes” (streams) the text of the message, before carrying on as before.
Outside the Kafka Museum seems like a fairly fitting place for one of Černý’s statues, as both artist and writer are a bit strange and provocative. The work of Kafka typically has isolated protagonists who face bizarre or surrealistic predicaments and incomprehensible social-bureaucratic powers. Scholars interpret his works as exploring themes of alienation, guilt, existential anxiety and absurdity.
For the second statue, however, we couldn’t understand why it is placed where it is: in the courtyard of the Toy Museum. The Toy Museum is in the Old Count’s Chambers of Prague Castle, close to the Golden Lane, and is said to be the second largest museum of this kind in the world. Apparently adults love this museum, but presumably many kids will also visit. Which makes the statue in the courtyard surprising, an odd curiosity.
It is a bronze statue on a simple stone pedestal of a nude young man with a golden penis. It is called Youth (Mladi in Czech), by Milos Zet (1920-1995), a Czech sculptor.
People say that rubbing the boy’s penis brings good luck! We all did so, as did many other visitors! Wonder what luck we’ll get? Back to Prague maybe?