Finding Art and Absurdity in Prague

Having tried and failed at taking a vacation before baby, we are now vacationing with baby in the Czech Republic.  The first week, we joined with Carolyn’s maternal grandparents, “Janie” and “Big” and hit all the major historic attractions in Prague.  We spent a day in the beautiful Český Krumlov, then headed back to Prague to continue our vacation with just our family of three.  And now, we’ve been in the Czech Republic long enough that even the tourists are getting on our nerves.  We find ourselves busily pushing through the crowds on the Charles Bridge to reach some obscure destination.  And I think it’s safe to say, we have developed an unhealthy dependence on croissants, pastries, pies, and various sweets that are displayed in seemingly every shop window.

If we lived here, I would have to start using some serious restraint. Meringues are what, 90% air?

With all the major attractions under our belt, we went in search of some hidden gems.  We found the most interesting items right under our nose (or should I say, right over our head).

"Hanging Out" by David Cerny - A Freud-esque figure hanging over the street

Looking closely, some creepy faces emerge from the "dripstone" facade of this odd building.

"Vlastovka/Swallow II" by Magdalena Poplawska. A little girl and her paper swallow airplane is perched on a pillar of the national library.

Others required a bit of searching, like this David Cerny piece of two men urinating in a pool shaped liked the Czech Republic.

"Piss" by David Cerny. The men spell out Czech phrases with their stream in the pool. You can also text your own phrase to them.

Graffiti artists have full reign on the John Lennon Wall. The owner gave up cleaning it after years of repeated whitewashing.

And still others we stumbled upon in strange places most tourists don’t go.  I wish I could credit the artist of the statue below, but I neglected to jot down his/her name at the student art museum where it was housed.

"To wash or not to wash the dish? That is the question."

Speaking of David Cerny, he is one weird dude.  But despite that, I found myself going out of my way to see various pieces of his that are on display throughout the city.  Cerny even has a moving piece in Charlotte called “Metalmorphosis” that some NC natives may recognize (click here for a You Tube demonstration of this one).  A lot of his pieces are disturbing and you want to look away, but you can’t.  I guess that’s one reason he is successful.

Cerny's babies with sunken, barcode-ish faces.

Another Cerny creation.

This one was disturbing enough that I couldn't even show the whole thing. It's a likeness of Saddam Hussein in formaldehyde. I could only stomach the feet.

And in the spirit of post-modern art, we attempted to create our own living art masterpiece.  Not sure how much this was appreciated by the staff of the palace gardens though.  They just don’t have an eye for this sort of thing.

Dad becomes one with the hedgerow.

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