He rose to fame in 1991, when he painted pink the soviet tank that served as a war memorial in the centre of Prague. Seventeen years later, the times his statements and artworks stirred controversy are numerous. Unconditional, provocative and with a pointy sence of humour, David Cerný is certainly a man not interested in providing diplomatic answers.
Since the very beginning your work has been characterized as provocative and controversial. Are these elements still of equal importance to you? Yes, I somehow like not to let people stay in their lethargy and Rage has always been a good source of inspiration for me.
You are well known for expressing strong political and anti – communist views. How do you regard the situation in the Czech Republic today? Of course it is terrible, after the left wing won the election in the whole country. And since we can expect a crisis next year, everything will probably be pretty fucked and that means of course scoring for communist. Fuck them!
How do you see the future of political art? Are there still things to protest about? There are still things to talk about and pointing them out on all fronts. It doesn’t necessary need to be a protest.
Despite your strong opposition to President VaÅLclav Klaus (in an interview you called him an asshole and you have projected his picture inside a model of human behind), there are lots of your artworks in public display in Prague. Isn’t that a bit contradictory? There is not one piece of my artwork that’s in the ownership of the city or installed by any officials. All of what you see is either from private collections or my ownership. And I refused a couple of times to sell anything to the Νational Gallery.
In nowadays Prague is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe. How do you feel about that? Is your work of the two figures peeing a reference to the tourists who come to the city for cheap drinks? I thing that Prague is still far behind of other popular European tourist destinations. That piece (streams) was installed when we joined EU. You know what is the most well known sculpture in Brussels? Mannequin piss. So I intended to do something more!
Your work, despite its ironic and provocative nature, also carries a strong feeling of violence and repression. Would you say that you have a rather pessimistic view on the world? Yes.
What initiated the idea of the crawling babies installation on the Zizkov television tower? The pessimistic view on the world.
A lot of your works received strong criticism when first presented; others were banned from exhibitions, while some commissions were cancelled due to being considered over the limit. How do you cope with such situations? Probably one tenth of all my projects has been realized, that is the truth. That’s life.
You are chairman at the board of directors of the Meet Factory programme, one of the most dynamic artistic platforms in the country. What is your opinion on contemporary Czech art? Nothing special. I’m on the board of Meetfactory because it is my long term project, which finally opened last year.
You have repeatedly mentioned in interviews that you don’t wanna be regarded as a famous artist. How do you see yourself? As the pilot of my Cessna 172. Including photo….