Ruff reception: David Černý's latest sculpture sparks controversy in Moravia

Critics argue that the Czech artist's latest piece depicts dogs engaged in sexual activity, deeming it inappropriate for public display. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 14.05.2024 16:04:00 (updated on 14.05.2024) Reading time: 2 minutes

Well-known Czech sculptor David Černý's recent addition to the landscape in the South Moravian town of Veselí nad Moravou has stirred up local controversy. The Dog in Dock winery, known for its innovative approach to art, has unveiled a new sculpture by Černý depicting three dogs, eliciting mixed reactions from residents.

The sculpture, standing at four meters tall, portrays three dogs crafted from steel with mirrored surfaces. Viewers are treated to a type of optical illusion where only two dogs are visible from any given angle, adding an element of playfulness to the artwork. However, not everyone shares this interpretation.

Eva Boušková, from the Trigema investment group, which manages Dog in Dock, expressed enthusiasm for challenging conventional norms through art. She also said she envisioned Veselí nad Moravou as a global tourist destination. According to the winery's representatives, the very intention behind commissioning Černý's artwork was to provoke emotions and ignite conversations.

Split opinion

Critics argue that the sculpture depicts the dogs engaged in sexual activity, deeming it inappropriate for public display. A petition calling for its removal has garnered around 50 signatures, with petitioners expressing concerns about the artwork's placement at the entrance to Veselí nad Moravou, along the main highway from Brno.

The controversy has sparked debate about the role of art in public spaces and the subjective nature of interpretation. While some residents find the sculpture thought-provoking and engaging, others view it as distasteful and embarrassing for the town.

Despite the backlash, the Trigema investment group remains steadfast in its support of the artwork. Boušková noted that the sculpture has succeeded in attracting attention and enhancing the character of the Dog in Dock. Local authorities have not yet made an official comment on the sculpture.

Černý's most polarizing works include the famous spinning head of Bohemian author Franz Kafka near Národní třída, the Urinating Sculptures (Čůrající postavy) outside the Franz Kafka Museum, a statue depicting State Wenceslas sitting on an upside-down dead horse inside Prague 1’s Lucerna Passage, giant sculptures of babies on the Žižkov Television Tower by Kampa Park, and – more recently – the so-called Lilith statue of a woman holding up a residential building in Karlín.

What do you think of Černý's new dogs sculpture?

I like it! 57 %
It's inappropriate 25 %
I can see why people may be offended, but it's fine to stay 18 %
171 readers voted on this poll. Voting is open
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