This self-guided tour of 22 David Cerny’s statues in Prague offers a unique insight into the artist’s provocative and controversial creations that have become an integral part of the city’s contemporary art scene. The aim is to provide comprehensive guide of the statues with their location, history and fun facts and suggested walks around the statues as well.
David Černý is a well-known and controversial Czech sculptor, famous for his provocative creations displayed in public locations around Prague. With the new opening of the David Cerny Musoleum Gallery in spring 2023, I thought it was time to walk around Prague to show you where exactly to find all of David Cerny’s art work, including some of the lesser know pieces.
David Černý is known for his eye-catching sculptures, which often spark conversation and debate due to their unique representations of significant cultural figures and subjects.
Among his most well-known works are the giant faceless babies crawling up and down the Zizkov TV Tower, the tallest building in the Czech Republic and also displayed in Kampa Island next to Charles Bridge. These sculptures capture the playful nature of children while offering an eerie, dystopian visual element, as these statues don’t have a face.
How to use this self-guided tour of David Cerny sculptures?
This very much depends on how much time you have and how many statues you would like to see. I’ve visited the statues over a period of a few months as I always like to explore the surrounding area more rather than rush from one statue to another (but you can certainly do that and there is nothing wrong with that…)
I’ve organised the list from the closest to the centre to the further away ones. There are about 22 different places and statues and going from one statue to another (including the ones in outer Prague) would take a good 7-8 hrs.
You might like to scroll through the list and if you see any statues that are close to the area that you are visiting anyway, you might like to add that into your itinerary. I’ve also included things you can see around the statues, especially if they are slightly further away from the centre.
I’ve tried my best to organise the following list in clusters, depending on how much time you have.
1-2 hrs – Visit the Musoleum Gallery
If you have a limited time but are happy to pay for the entrance to the gallery, then visiting the new Musoleum Gallery is a great way to see David Cerny’s work. See below for directions, facilities and what you can see in the gallery.
1-2 hrs – David Cerny Statues in the centre and tourist part of Prague
You can find the following sculptures in the centre of Prague (which you can incorporate into your Prague visit as they are very close to the main attractions and places you’d probably visit anyway).
The Piss – Hanging Man – Franz Kafka Rotating Head – Crawling Babies (Kampa Island) – Embryo – Upside down horse – Three Women
3-5 hrs – Explore the Prague 5 statues
Tractor – Torso of tank – Mausoleum – Hanging Meet – Trifod – Cyberdoog – Pegasus – Speederman
You can also combine this trip with a further walk in the Prague green spaces (see my notes below the Pegasus statue).
1 hr – Individual trips to the various statues
The rest of the list includes statues, that either take between 20-30 minutes to get there by public transport. You can decide to stay for longer and explore the area, which in the case of Karlin (Lilleth) and Zizkov (Crawling Babies) is certainly worth it.
- Crawling Babies
- London Booster
- In Utreo
David Cerny’s Artistic Background
David Cerny is a well-known Czech sculptor, born in Prague, who has gained a reputation for his provocative and eye-catching contemporary art pieces. He attended the Academy of Arts, Architecture, and Design from 1988-1994 in Prague. ‘
Cerny first gained international attention in 1991 when he painted a Soviet memorial tank pink. His artwork can be found in various public spaces throughout Prague, but he is also well known for sculptures displayed in USA, Belgium, London and other countries.
You can also find David Cerny statues in other towns in the Czech Republic, such as Czech Bethlehem (the Skoda Museum in Mlada Boleslav), The Giant’s Dinner (Liberec), Entropa (Plzen), Pink Tank (Army Museum in Lesany), Krychloids (Celadna), Burglar (Olomouc Art Museum).
Brand new for 2023! There is now a new gallery dedicated solely to David Černý work in Prague. The Musoleum in Smíchov district opened on April 1, 2023 and it’s based in the original restored building of Smichov distillery.
The Musoleum (play on words museum and mausoleum) has five floors jam packed with less seen art work and also replicas or smaller versions of some of the sculptures displayed around Prague (like the Quo Vadis Trabant Car or the London Booster sculpture).
The art gallery space also includes an exhibition hall where David Černý hosts his artist friends and you can view this part of the building for free.
The cafe on the ground floor serves really good coffee and black styled pastries (Cerny means in Czech language ‘Black’), such as Black Cherry Bomb (croissant type pastry filled with black cherries and vanilla custard), which is absolutely delicious! They are baked freshly by one of the best artisan bakeries in Prague – Artic Bakehouse.
The admission fee is 250 CZK (but access to the cafe is free).
Location – Lihovar, Prague 5, Tram stop called ‘Lihovar’ number 5, 12, 20 – about 20 minutes ride from the centre of Prague
Below is a list of some of David Cerny’s statues in Prague, along with their locations, addresses, and interesting facts about each piece:
Faceless Babies – Crawling Babies
A series of giant faceless baby sculptures without faces, crawling along the ground next to the Kampa Mills.
These sculptures were initially a temporary installation but were so popular that they became a permanent fixture in the city.
Location: Kampa Park, Prague 1
The Streams – The Pissing statues
Located outside the Franz Kafka Museum in Mala Strana, the Piss sculpture features two male figures urinating in a shallow basin, which is in the shape of the Czech Republic. They appear to be continuously writing quotes from famous Czech literary works or messages that people have written via text messaging.
Children’s urinating fountains are common, but you won’t come across depictions of two tall adult men relieving themselves in public very often.
The sculpture was installed in 2004 and at that time David Cerny told the Los Angeles Times that this sculpture represents a typically Czech dialogue and mentality, where one person tries to “out-piss” the other, or get ahead at the other person’s expense.
It could also be a message to Czech politicians, which would be quite typical of David Cerny.
Location: Franz Kafka Museum, Cihelna 2B, Lesser Town, Prague 1 – The nearest underground and tram stop is Malostranska on the tram number 22, 20, 15 or 12. and then a short walk towards the Charles Bridge and Kampa Island.
Franz Kafka’s Rotating Head – Metalmorphosis
A large rotating head made up of horizontal layers that constantly shift and re-align.
It is said that the face depicted in the sculpture is Franz Kafka’s.
Location: Ovocný trh Square, Prague 1
Hanging Man is a life-size sculpture of Sigmund Freud hanging from a pole, seemingly contemplating whether to let go or hold on. He is handing on one hand and his other hand is in his pocket.
The statue was made in 1997 when David Cerny was contemplating the arrival of a new century and wondered what it will bring. He chose Sigmund Freud, because he deemed him to be the most influential and important person in the 20th century.
In the beginning, people had mistaken the sculpture for a real person and called emergency services, especially when the statue was temporarily displayed in Michigan, USA.
Location: Husova Street, Prague 1
Saint Wenceslas Riding an upside down Dead Horse
Saint Wenceslas, the Duke of Bohemia, is one of the most important figures in the history of the Czech Republic its patron saint.
The statue was made in 1999 and is a parody of the traditional depiction of King Wenceslas – the statue shows him mounted on an upside-down dead horse. At the time the statue meant to symbolise the current state of the Czech Republic, when not a lot of things were working, but we were all pretending we were O.K.
Unlike other David Cerny statues, this one is made from a light weighted polystyrene material.
Location: Lucerna Passage, 61 Stepanska Street, Prague 1 – the Lucerna Passage is opposite Svetozor Passage, tram stop 9, 5 etc – Vaclavske Namesti tram stop or Museum or Mustek Underground station and then 5 min walk.
Three women sitting on a house
These are three statues of women who have a large white lamp for heads sitting on the top of the Deymov Palace in the centre of Prague.
The statues are a bit tricky to spot as they are sitting on the roof, so you need to look up to see them.
Location: Vorsilska 130/10, New Town, Prague 1, walking distance 5 minutes from the Narodni Underground stop or Narodni tram stop on trams no. 2, 9, 14, 18, 22, or about the same distance from Narodni Divadlo tram stop of the same tram numbers.
The Embryo sculpture, attached to the Na Zábradlí Theatre, features an alien-like embryo in a drainpipe. It was presented to the theatre to commemorate their 50th anniversary in 2008. The Embryo lights up at night and it’s up to you to work out what the sculpture actually means.
The story goes that when the sculpture was installed it didn’t bring as many visitors as the theatre hoped for, so the theatre director started a rumour that she and the members of the theatre actors group were upset with the way the sculpture looked and that they needed to cover it.
David Cerny wrote an apologetic letter (he knew about the real reason why the rumour was started), which went public and the trick worked! The sculpture soon became better known and more people visited.
Location: Divadlo Na Zabradli, Anenske Square, Prague 1
Quo Vadis – Trabant
Quo Vadis is a sculpture of a Trabant car mounted on four legs, resembling a walking insect.
Trabant car was very popular car in the former Czechoslovakia, because it was cheap to produce (but not because it would be reliable or stylish!).
The Quo Vadis sculpture was built in 1990 and it symbolises the eastern German people who at the time wanted to move to the western part of Germany and their first point of call was the German embassy. When people emigrated, they left their cars behind (and a lot of them were Trabant). Over 4000 people moved from Eastern Germany to Western Germany at the time.
The original statue is in Germany (Leipzig) and the copy is in the garden of the German Embassy. Another copy is at the new David Cerny Musoleum in Smichov (Lihovar).
The statue was originally displayed at the Old Town Square and later in 2001 moved to the garden of the German Embassy.
David Cerny had to borrow money from his father to make this statue and from the sale of the statue he was able to buy a real car!
Location: German Embassy, 19 Vlašská Street, Prague 1 – the statue is located at the back of the embassy in the garden. To get there you need to take the little path next to the children’s playground (before you get to the embassy walking from the top of Vlasska Street). The path takes you directly to the back of the garden, but it can be sometimes a bit muddy.
Crawling Babies on the TV Tower
If you’ve seen the Crawling Babies at Kampa Island, you will recognise these giant faceless babies crawling up the Žižkov Television Tower in the Žižkov, Prague 3 district. These figures are intended to provoke thoughts about society’s relationship with technology as they have what looks like a scanning shopping code instead of their faces.
There are 10 different statues which were placed on the tower in 2000. Their placement on the tower was going to be only temporary, but people liked them, so they stayed permanently.
In 2017 the statues had to be taken down and were replaced by completely new copies. The new babies were made even heavier than the original statues and instead of 190 kg they now weigh 350 kg. They look quite small from the ground, but they are 350 cm long and 260 cm tall! The new statues were installed in 2019.
The Crawling Babies sculptures were originally made for an installation in the Museum of Modern Art in Chicago, but they were also displayed at the London Czech Embassy.
Location – Zizkov TV Tower, Mahler Orchards (Mahlerovy Sady), Prague 3 – The nearest underground station and tram stop is Jiriho z Podebrad (trams 1, 11, 13) and then it’s about 7-10 minutes walk. Alternatively, you can also get off at the Lipanska tram stop (trams 1, 5, 8, 9) and walk up the hill to get to the tower (10 min)
The Giant Lilith is an iron sculpture of a woman supporting and embracing a new apartment building in Karlin. This is one of the newer statues installed in 2022. The buildings are still in development and you can also see a giant foot supporting another part of the building.
The Lilith statue is 24 metres tall and weighs 35 tons and she turns her head in regular intervals.
Location – Fragment buildings, Sokolovska Street, Prague 8, tram stop Invalidovna no 3,6, 8, 25 etc and also underground station Invalidovna.
The pink tractor sculpture made with Zetor 40 type is a dedication to a punk band called ‘Hanging Locker’ and their 40th years anniversary. The band used to perform in the nearby club at the Strahov, which is why this new sculpture was placed there in 2022.
Location – Vanickova Street, Prague 6 – next to the Strahov Stadium behind Petrin Hill. If you are visiting the Petrin Lookout Tower you can easily take a short detour to see this sculpture – it’s behind the Hunger wall as you walk towards the Strahov College accommodation for students.
Torso of a tank
As you walk towards the entrance to the Kinsky Garden, you can see a tank that’s seemingly stuck in the ground and only the back is visible. This is the Torso of a tank sculpture, which was installed in 2018 to commemorate the 50 years anniversary of the Soviet Army occupation of the Czech Republic in 1968.
Those of you who have been to Prague before 2000 you might have seen a full size tank painted pink in front of the large law courts – opposite to where the current Torso of the Tank is now. Here was the original Russian tank no 23 which helped to liberate Prague in May 1945.
David Cerny and his friends (then just students of an art university) painted the tank overnight in 1991 as a prank and as a stand against the Russian occupation before the Velvet Revolution in 1989. Although it was nearly two years after the revolution, some Soviet army groups were still based in the Czech Republic.
The pink tank was a big scandal and the local town hall re-pained the tank back to its original green colour. Later on, the tank got painted pink again, so eventually the town hall decided to remove it altogether. The tank – still pink – is now displayed in army museum in Lesany (outside Prague), if you really wanted to see it.
Location – Kinsky Square, Prague 5, nearest stop Svandovo Divadlo on tram line number 9, 12, 20 or 15.
At the Futura Gallery, the Brown-Nosers sculptures depict two large figures bent over, inviting visitors to peek inside. They are aimed at critiquing political obedience in contemporary society.
Location: Futura Gallery, Graficka, Prague 5, Smichov
The Futura Gallery seems to be temporarily closed – pretty much every time I try to pop in, it’s not open and the statues, unfortunately, can’t be viewed in any other way. They are installed in the walled garden inside the house courtyard.
meat (Hanging Red Cars)
This statue is made with two large metallic deep pink cars hanging from a building like meat (hence the name of the sculpture and the venue). The sculptures were installed in 2007. The building is an event venue called ‘Meetfactory’, which organises regular concerts, art exhibitions and markets.
Location: Ke Sklarne 3213/15, Lihovar Tram Stop, Smichov, Prague 5 – if you go and visit the new Musoleum, the Meat sculptures are just opposite on the other side of the train track. To get to the Meetfactory venue, you need to walk first towards the bridge over the train track and then take the street by the train track to it.
Trifot is a 12-meter walking sculpture created by David Cerny specifically for the Czech Photo Centre gallery, in front of which it is located. Trifot appears to be coming from the Nové Butovice metro station and is heading towards the Hůrka underground station.
David Cerny was inspired by the walking plant from the legendary sci-fi novel by John Wyndham, “The Day of the Triffids.” The stainless steel creature Trifot is made up of a camera tripod and a head composed of variously sized cameras.
These evoke the development of photography throughout human history, from the old types of cameras to modern digital cameras. The head also includes a model of the Leica camera that was sent to the moon. The Trifot has several large human eyes which look like they are watching you (and they actually are!)
The statue is also processing pictures of people walking by. When a person passes a certain point, Trifot’s huge eye captures them, activates the cameras, and displays the passerby on the surrounding large screens without recording. The picture stays on for few minutes and then disappears.
According to the position of the Office for Personal Data Protection dated October 4, 2016, photographing random pedestrians in front of the Czech Photo Centre gallery, which is done through the Trifot sculpture, is done in a reasonable manner, with a free legal artistic licence, and their consent is not required for the image capture.
Location: Seydlerova Street, Prague 5 – Stodůlky – the closest underground station on B-line is Stodulky and then just few minutes walk.
Whilst you are there, you can also see the Cyberdog and the Czech Photo Centre gallery. The whole area is pedestrianised and designed with trees, plants and tall grass and plenty of benches to sit on. There are also outdoor exhibition displays – last time I visited there was an exhibition about Czech sportsmen and women at Olympic Games during the Communist Era and their lives. There are also cafe places and a few restaurants, so it’s worth a trip from central Prague.
Robotic Restaurant Cyberdog
Cyberdog is more than just a statue or an art project, it’s a fully functioning wine bar inspired by the idea of progress in the 21st century. The two-story building is shaped like a dog’s head and body, and made of material resembling a spaceship.
The main information hub is on the second floor, where you can see news, special short films and other projections about the latest in science and technology.
On the first floor of the Cyberdog you will find a wine bar, where orders and delivery of the drinks are done by automated robots.
The construction of the Cyberdog took about six months and originally started in November 2018. The total cost exceeded 23 million CZK. The bar capacity is about 40 seats. It is the first robotic wine bar of its kind in Europe.
Location: Seydlerova Street, Prague 5 – Stodůlky – the closest underground station on B-line is Stodulky.
These are three statues which look like the backs of horses with aeroplane propel motors for heads were installed in 2017. The sculptures are in the middle of Walter Square placed in tall grass. The motors are slowly rotating, whilst the statues are standing still.
It’s not a coincidence that these statues are placed here. In the past, Walter Pegas aeroplane engines were manufactured here – one of the main buildings was incorporated into the new design of this modern part of Prague suburbs.
Pegasus statues first appeared at the Malost exhibition in 1991 as one of 343 pieces, each measuring only 6 cm tall. Later, David Černý decided to create a large-scale version of the sculpture and coincidentally connected with architect Jakub Ciegler, who was designing the Waltrovka building complex at the time.
Location: Walter Square, Prague 5 – the nearest underground station is Jinonice on the B-Line and then about 5-8 min walk to the square.
Once you are there, you can also walk further into the centre to see the Speederman statue. If you want to turn this outing into a half-day trip, you can have coffee and delicious cakes at the Bakery of Two Rolls (Pekarstvi U dvou rohliku). This is a bakery that supports people with physical disabilities, who work at the shop and also bake all the delicious bread and cakes. I had coffee to go and cheese curd cake, which was really good and tasted even better because I was supporting a good cause.
For lunch you can pop into the spacious Automat Aviatica, which is located inside the large blue building square as you walk past the Speederman statue. This is a modern version of the lunch self-service canteen that serves Czech food.
The food is already made, so you just make your choice, the staff will plate up the food for you and you pay at the counter before you can take the food to the table. Prices are very affordable and start at 45 CZK for soup, 160 – 200 CZK for mains and there are usually 2 choices of soup and 5 choices of main dishes. The Automat Aviatica is open Mon-Friday only between 7.30 am – 3.30 pm, so it’s perfect for early lunch during weekdays.
Afterwards you can continue to walk up to Waltrovka Park, which is behind the building complex and then continue through green walk and parks either to Smichov (via Malvazinky Cemetary) or the other way via Na Vidouli Park where you can walk through more greenery and one of the large Prague woodland forest called Kosire-Motol Park and Cibulka.
This involves walking uphill slightly first of all and then down the hill to the valley where you can get tram number 10 or 9 that will take you to the centre of Prague in about 25 minutes.
If you don’t want to miss the Trifot and the Cyberdog statues, go only one stop on the B underground from the Jinonice station to the Nove Butovice and walk from there through connecting parks and green spaces towards Butovice.
After you see the Trifot and Cyberdog statue the walk will take you through Sun Square park and then Central Park following the Prokop stream with lakes to the old part of Stodulky.
The old part of Stodulky is in contrast to the modern housing that you will see on the way and it’s now a protected historic area.
You can then take the underground back to the centre of Prague (about 20 minutes from Stodulky Underground station to Mustek at the bottom of Wenceslas Square).
This is a nearly 4 metres tall statue of a man who looks like he is running through the air and at the same time he looks completely still and frozen.
There are lights on the side of the statue, which change colours and it also looks more like the statue is moving. The buildings around have a mixture of grey steel, blue and white colours and the statue looks very striking in those surroundings.
The statue was built in 2014 and displayed originally at the Light festival in Amsterdam and the Signal festival in Prague.
Location: Walter Square, Prague 5
The Beetle Statue looks tiny from the ground, but it’s a 17-meter high and 8-meter wide movable sculpture which represents a Porsche 911 car impaled on a spike. The sculpture is meant to look like a beetle displayed in an old entomological collection. With this sculpture, David Cerny wanted to make us think about our excessive obsession with cars.
The car consists of 11 movable segments that move with the help of hydraulics. The surface of the sculpture is made of pink-purple laminate, and the installation altogether weighs ten tons.
The sculpture was unveiled on April 1, 2020, and the investor is Passerinvest Group.
Location – Vyskocilova Street, BB Centrum, Prague 4 nearest bus stop is called Brumlovka and bus numbers 118, 124, 170. You can also get there by taking the underground (C line from Muzeum Station at the top of the Wenceslas Square to Budejovicka Station) and then walk – about 10 minutes.
This is a red London Bus that has hands and does push-ups and makes a noise as it does so. The back of the bus has been turned into a big bum.
It was made in 2012 to celebrate the London Olympic Games in 2012 and was first displayed in front of a Czech centre in London. The actual bus is from 1958 and whilst it was used for public transport in England, it never actually served London.
The bus does push-ups every day from 3 pm to 3.30 pm during late spring, summer and autumn.
A small (moving) version is in the Musoleum in Smichov (Lihovar) as this sculpture is a fair distance from the centre of Prague.
Location Pyselska Street, Chodov, Prague 4, bus no. 125 from Smichov Train Station to bus stop Chodovec (about 15 minutes ride – regular 90 min public transport tickets are valid)
In Utero is a large 6 metre tall statue of a pregnant sitting woman supporting her head. The statue is made from stainless steel and in a similar way to the Lilith Statue. She is placed in the open space of a green park and the stainless steel material reflects the surroundings and the clouds. You can also walk inside the statue.
The statue was originally displayed in 2013 in a small square between Dlouhá and Masná streets in the centre of Prague, but it had to be removed due to objections from the heritage authorities.
Location: Galerie Golf Hostivař, U Golfu 565, Prague 10 – From the Old Town Square in the centre of Prague take the underground from Staromestska Metro Stop (line A) to Skalka (then buses 125 or 175 to Hostivarsky Pivovar then 4 minutes walk) or to Strasnicka (then bus 154 to Hostivarsky Pivovar and then 4 minutes walk). This journey takes about 45-50 minutes including walking).
This blog post was originally written on 1 June 2023 and last updated on 1 June 2023
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