New David Cerny sculpture, Metalmorphosis, unveiled in Charlotte

'Metalmorphosis' by David Cerny, photo: CTK

Ever since he painted a Soviet tank pink in 1991, David Cerny has remained one of the Czech Republic's more daring and innovative artists, whose work continues to provoke. His work - including enormous babies scaling the city's TV tower - can be seen in and around Prague but also abroad. Last week a new piece titled "Metalmorphosis" was unveiled in Charlotte, North Carolina, in the US. The event was attended by Czech and US representatives, as well as the seminal Czech underground band the Plastic People of the Universe.

'Metalmorphosis' by David Cerny,  photo: CTK
Artist David Cerny has long been well-known in art circles in both the Czech Republic and abroad but it has been a while since he made headlines with a new public sculpture. No longer. Witness "Metalmorphosis", a piece which forms part of a public fountain at an office park in the US city of Charlotte. The piece is a seven-metre tall structure with horizontally-moving stainless-steel plates which form, and re-form, a giant metal head. The piece is one of the more interesting Cerny has done since his futuristic babies or a sculpture of the Czechs' patron saint Wenceslas, riding on a very dead (upside down) horse. Last Friday the artist attended the opening of Metalmorphosis at its new home in the US and a little earlier I asked him to tell me more:

David Cerny
"The sculpture is about 14 tonnes of stainless steel and it involved a lot electronics and motors and mechanics. To be honest the hard part was to find engineers and subcontractors who were willing to work from the first stage on the project."

RP: What are your feelings, in general, about public art? Most of your more well-known pieces are designed for the public space...

"I'm still enjoying it, it can really be better for some. Someone might enjoy going to places specifically 'devoted' to art more, but others prefer it outside, to be 'attacked' by art. I'm really the second type."

David Cerny told me he was glad to have attended the unveiling, which saw a performance by acquaintances the Plastic People of the Universe:

"I was there of course, a couple friends of mine, the mayor of Charlotte, the minister of foreign affairs, the ambassadors from both countries and of course the Plastic People of the Universe, who played. They were great! They actually enjoyed it, and it was funny. Of course we know each other. Generally, all of the people who were involved in the unveiling were 'fascinated'. What can I say? Nobody thought it was 'bullshit' or if they thought it, they were very polite {laughs}. Nobody complained!"