David Černý unveils impaled Porsche 911 called Beetle at Prague 4’s BB Centrum

The latest installation by Czech artist David Černý is a squirming iridescent car on a giant pin

Raymond Johnston

Written by Raymond Johnston Published on 03.04.2020 11:42:32 (updated on 03.04.2020) Reading time: 4 minutes

Czech artist David Černý has unveiled yet another sculpture in Prague. His latest work is called Brouk or Beetle, based on the shape of the Porsche 911 automobile, can be seen from the beginning of April in BB Centrum in Prague 4.

The almost 17-meter-high, eight-meter-long and three-and-a-half-meter-wide sculpture is located by the Alpha office building of BB Centrum in Prague 4 on Vyskočilova Street near the exit from 5. května Street. It took nearly two years to make and the investor is Passerinvest Group.

It depicts a Porsche 911 impaled on a large pin like an insect in a collection. The opalescent color is mean to mimic beetles living in nature. The sculpture has 11 moving segments that move with the help of hydraulics.

“Why a moving car? Its location by the Prague expressway, my ambivalent relation to the car on one hand, the dark side as a societal fetish, on the other hand a heavy addiction to the iconic Porsche 911 automobile since my childhood,” Černý said.

“Ferdinand Porsche, a native of Liberec, is the spiritual father of the popular VW Beetle. But few people know that he found inspiration for this fundamental design in the work of another constructor, the Austrian chief design engineer for Tatra, Hans Ledwinka, who lived and worked in Kopřivnice for many long years,” he said.

“His Tatra V 570 was even the subject of litigation between Tatra and VW after the war, a strange story. Of course, the Porsche 911, this beautiful piece of automotive design, is based on the Beetle. So it is kind of a Czech/German automotive jumble,” he added.

Beetle by David Černý
Beetle by David Černý. via Passerinvest

Art based on vehicles is theme throughout Černý’s career. His first widely known work was the Pink Tank in 1991, originally located at náměstí Kinských. This led to his arrest for hooliganism. Another early work was Quo Vadis?, a bronze image of a Trabant car on legs that is a tribute to the thousands of people who occupied the garden of the West German Embassy in Prague in 1989 in hopes of escaping the Eastern bloc. It can be seen in the German Embassy’s garden.

More recently, he made London Booster, a red double-decker bus doing push-ups on hydraulic arms. Ot was originally exhibited in London for the 2012 Olympics, but is now in Prague’s Chodov district.

He has also proposed a giant crashed ship that would lean against the planned tallest building in the Czech Republic near Prague’s Nové Butovice metro stop.


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David Černý and Passerinvest’s Radim Passer. via Passerinvest

Beetle took nearly two years to make and the investor is Passerinvest Group. “I’m very glad that almost two years from the initial designs, the sculpture has been completed. We all want life to return to normal as soon as possible, and I am sure that the Beetle from Mr Černý will help a bit to dilute what is currently a generally negative flood of information. And once life starts flowing again, the Beetle will become another interesting cultural and tourist sight in Prague,” Radim Passer, the founder and CEO of Passerinvest Group, said.

He added that his company has been developing BB Centrum for more than 20 years. “In that time, we have invested almost 1.6 billion CZK into non-profit projects such as parks, a school and preschool, a social center, sports facilities and playgrounds, a square, water features, etc,” he said.

David Černý and others at the unveiling of Beetle. via Passerinvest

“The idea to also have an untraditional work of art here originated a few years ago. We thought about various possibilities, such as building a unique water feature, but that was almost impossible to realize. We ultimately liked the idea for an installation with a car from Mr Černý the most, especially with regard to the theme and the chosen position,” he added.

More of Černý’s art can be seen throughout Prague. His most visible pieces are the rotating head of Franz Kafka, located behind the Quadrio shopping center, and Babies, a series of black fiberglass infants crawling up the Žižkov Television Tower. Bronze versions of Babies can be seen on Kampa.

Another popular one is Horse, depicting St Wenceslas on a dead horse, located in Palác Lucerna. He also is responsible for Man Hanging Out, a sculpture of Sigmund Freud hanging from a pole suspended over a street; Piss, two sculpted men pissing into a pond outside the Kafka Museum; and Embryo, a blob-like mass on the side of Divadlo Na Zábradlí. He is also involved in the futuristic Cyberdog bar in Nové Butovice.

Aside from the crashed ship on a skyscraper, projects for the future include a train-shaped walkway between two Prague buildings in Vysočany and a giant sculpture supporting a residential building in Karlín.

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