Prague's most twisted sculpture gets a light-show relaunch this week

The famous Kafka sculpture by Czech artist David Černý, out of commission for several months for repairs, will spin again on Thursday. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 27.02.2024 09:37:00 (updated on 28.02.2024) Reading time: 1 minute

This year marks 100 years since the death of renowned Bohemian author Franz Kafka, and 2024 is abuzz with exhibitions, cultural happenings, workshops, and much more in honor of one of Prague’s most famed literary sons.

In recent years, perhaps the most prominent emblem of Kafka in Prague has been a modern sculpture of the writer’s head, a whirling steel wonder installed by Czech artist David Černý outside the Quadrio shopping center.

The mobile sculpture is now back in rotation among the Czech capital's most photographed landmarks. Following five months of general maintenance, Kafka fans and lovers of Instagrammable experiences are invited to "head" to OC Quadrio on Feb. 29 from 7 p.m., to see the bust set in motion to musical accompaniment and a light show.

"All its forty-two rotating floors underwent the necessary service intervention. Our technicians have replaced the rotating mechanism of each floor itself. It is equipped with a more modern technical solution that will ensure a longer service life and easier maintenance of the entire work," said Alex Černý, executive director of DEUS Automation, which managed the repairs.

Kafka's moving head is one of the most sought-after publicly accessible works of art in Prague. The existing structure utilizes industrial automation and robotics technology incorporating 42 servo drives and almost a kilometer of cables. It stands at an impressive 10.6 meters in height, weighs 39 tons, and cost CZK 30 million to build.

The bust rotates every 15 minutes per hour from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.; it was ceremoniously unveiled on Oct. 31, 2014. The sculpture undergoes extensive maintenance each year to keep it in optimal condition.

Perhaps the sculpture’s most exciting (and Kafkaesque) feature is that the stainless steel panels rotate independently, allowing passersby to admire the face of the famed writer in various modes of expression.

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