Fotoeins Fotografie

a question of home

Posts tagged ‘Prag’

Albert Einstein, Franz Kafka, Max Brod, Dům U Kamenného beránka, At the stone lamb, Staromestske namesti, Old Town Square, Prague, Prag, Praha, Czech Republic, fotoeins.com

My Praha: Brod, Einstein, & Kafka at Fanta Salon

Above/featured: it is as if I pointed out a famous meeting place to her right (left for the reader).

Prague’s Old Town Square is one of the most visited landmarks, dominated by the two tall spires of the Church of our Lady before Týn, Old Town Hall, and a prominent sculpture dedicated to Czech icon Jan Hus at the centre of the square.

At the southeast corner of the square is a building called (Dům) U Kamenného beránka or “At the Stone Lamb” at address Staroměstské námesti 551/17 #. To the right of the building’s main entrance is a memorial plaque with an inscription in both Czech and English. The memorial plaque was created by Czech sculptor Zdenĕk Kolářský and unveiled in 1998. Looking closer, you’ll recognize Albert Einstein’s face and his famous physics equation stating the equivalence of mass and energy: E = mc2.

Over a 16-month period from 1911 to 1912, Albert Einstein lived in Prague with his family and was full professor of theoretical physics at the German Charles-Ferdinand University. Einstein enjoyed hanging out at a number of cafes for conversations, exchanges, and music, and he was a frequent visitor to this building where Czech liberal and intellectual Berta Fanta operated a literary-philosophical salon or lounge. The salon saw visits by many intellectuals, both domestic and international. “Domestic” writers Franz Kafka and Max Brod would have come here for the discourse as well, but it turns out little is actually known about whether all three arranged to meet or would have met here at the same time.

( Click here for images and more )

My Praha: Jan Hus, Bohemian reformer and Czech icon

Above/featured: Jan Hus Monument, Old Town Square – 4 Jul 2008 (HL, 450D).

Most visitors to the Czech capital city of Prague will pass by and overlook the large sculpture near the middle of Old Town Square. The central figure in the monument is one of the most important historical figures for capital and country.

Although he may not be as well known outside of the European continent, Jan Hus is a massive historical figure within central Europe. Jan Hus was declared the greatest hero of the Czech nation in a 2015 survey by Czech Radio. In Konstanz on 6 July 1415, Jan Hus was sentenced to death on the charge of heresy. In recognition of his attempts to reform the Catholic Church and to foster and encourage Bohemian identity, July 6 is commemorated annually as a national holiday in the Czech Republic: the holiday is known as “Den upálení Mistra Jana Husa,” which translates to “day of the burning of Jan Hus.”

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Prague’s David Černý: skillful s**t disturber

Considered “enfant terrible” in the European and Czech art scene, David Černý frequently has courted both controversy and amusement from the beginning in 1991 with the Pink (Soviet) Tank. Is he infuriating and crude or enlightened and hilarious? Is he misunderstood social commentator or attention-seeking hooligan? He continues to make art at home in Prague, and provoke strong reactions.

Černý’s creations can be found throughout the Czech capital city. You can decide for yourself if his artwork is inspiring or dull.

  • Babies (Miminka), at 2 locations
  • Brownnosers
  • Embryo
  • Hanging Out (Viselec)
  • Horse (Kůň)
  • K on Sun
  • Piss (Proudy)
  • Quo Vadis?
  • Zátopek’s Legs (Zátopkovy nohy)

Babies (Miminka)

Location: Television Tower, Žižkov.
DPP: Metro A to Jiřího z Poděbrad; tram 11, 13 to Jiřího z Poděbrad; tram 5, 9, 15, 26 to Lipanská.

The tower is the tallest structure in Prague with a height of 216 metres above sea-level. But I think it’s the faceless babies which are the true attraction. First installed on the tower in 2000, the sculpture consisting of ten fibreglass babies became a permanent exhibition in 2001. In October 2017, “Babies” were removed from the tower for long-needed cleaning and repairs. The sculpture is scheduled to return to the tower in spring 2018. More information in English about visiting the TV Tower can be found here.

David Cerny, sculpture, contemporary art, Prague, Praha, Czech Republic, fotoeins.com

Photo: 14 March 2009.

David Cerny, sculpture, contemporary art, Prague, Praha, Czech Republic, fotoeins.com

Photo: 14 March 2009.

námesti Jiřího z Poděbrad, Přemyslovská, Prague 3, Prague, Praha, Czech Republic, fotoeins.com

Žižkov tower (Žižkovská věž), at Náměstí Jiřího z Poděbrad and Přemyslovská. Photo: 4 August 2013.


Babies (Miminka)

Location: Museum Kampa, Malá Strana.
DPP: tram 12, 15, 20, 22, 23 to Hellichova.

Residing next to the museum on Kampa Island are three bronze “babies”. Check out the creepy slots for faces; yikes.

David Cerny, sculpture, contemporary art, Prague, Praha, Czech Republic, fotoeins.com

Photo: 6 December 2008.


Brownnosers

Location: Galerie Futura, Smíchov.
DPP: Metro B to Anděl, tram 9, 10, 15, 16 to Bertramka.

Two sets of headless bent-over fiberglass figures are found outside towards the (ahem) rear of the gallery; visitors are invited to climb the ladders to inspect each figure. I hear music emanating from an orifice. On this wet cold autumn day, I’m the only one here to ‘suffer’ the voluntary embarrassment of climbing up the stairs and sticking my head into the back end of one of the figures. Inside the circular aperture is a video of two men in masks feeding each other slop to the tune of Queen’s “We Are The Champions”; see video below. In caricature are Vaclav Klaus, who was Czech president (2003-2013), and Milan Knížák, who was director of the Czech National Gallery (1990-2011).

David Cerny, sculpture, contemporary art, Prague, Praha, Czech Republic, fotoeins.com

Photo: 6 November 2016.

David Cerny, sculpture, contemporary art, Prague, Praha, Czech Republic, fotoeins.com

Photo: 6 November 2016.


Embryo

Location: Na Zábradlí at Anenské náměstí (Anna Square), Staré Město.
DPP: Metro A or B, to Můstek; Metro B to Národní třída; tram 2, 17, 18 to Karlovy lázně (southbound); tram 2, 17, 18 to Národní divadlo (northbound).

Hidden in a corner of the Old Town near Charles Bridge is a little plaza named after Saint Anna. Something resembling an “embryo” glows red on the side of the building for Divadlo Na zábradlí (Theatre on the Balustrade). Is there some mystery inside to be revealed or something more insidious to be unleashed to the world?

David Cerny, sculpture, contemporary art, Prague, Praha, Czech Republic, fotoeins.com

This photo and below: 5 November 2016.

David Cerny, sculpture, contemporary art, Prague, Praha, Czech Republic, fotoeins.com

Is something lurking in the glowing embryo?


Hanging Out (Viselec)

Location: Husova at Betlémské náměstí (Bethlehem Square), Staré Město.
DPP: Metro A or B, to Můstek; Metro B to Národní třída; tram 2, 17, 18 to Karlovy lázně (southbound); tram 2, 17, 18 to Národní divadlo (northbound).

Look up, waaaaay up. The people around you will look strangely at you: what is he looking? Up above, a well-dressed gentleman in glasses and a suit hangs onto a beam with one arm, his calm steely gaze over you, me, and his surroundings. The man represented is supposed to be Sigmund Freud: what would he have thought about all this? Is his ceaseless gaze judging us with superiority?

David Cerny, sculpture, contemporary art, Prague, Praha, Czech Republic, fotoeins.com

Photo: 20 April 2008.

David Cerny, sculpture, contemporary art, Prague, Praha, Czech Republic, fotoeins.com

Photo: 20 October 2008.

David Cerny, sculpture, contemporary art, Prague, Praha, Czech Republic, fotoeins.com

Photo: 6 October 2009 with Canon 450D, 70-300 glass, settings: 1/320-sec, f/8, ISO400, 225mm focal length (360mm full-frame equivalent).


Horse (Kůň)

Location: Palác Lucerna, Nové Město.
DPP: Metro A or B, to Můstek; Metro A or C, to Muzeum; tram 3, 5, 6, 9, 14, 24 to Václavské náměstí.

This sculpture of Wenceslas sitting on a dead upside-down horse is a parody of the memorial statue by Myslbek (unveiled 1913, completed 1924) outside at Wenceslas Square nearby. I think the dead beaten horse says a lot about what Cerny thinks about a heroic figure in Czech history with near mythological dimensions. (In 2017, Palác Lucerna was added to the list of Czech National Cultural Monuments.)

David Cerny, sculpture, contemporary art, Prague, Praha, Czech Republic, fotoeins.com

Photo: 27 July 2013; compare this sculpture with the more “respectable” one below.

David Cerny, sculpture, contemporary art, Prague, Praha, Czech Republic, fotoeins.com

Pomník svatého Václava (Saint Wenceslas statue) by Josef Myslbek. Photo: 2 July 2010 at the top/southeast end of Václavské náměstí (Wenceslas Square).


K on Sun

Location: OC Quadrio (since 2014), Nové Město.
DPP: Metro B to Národní třída; tram 2, 9, 18, 22, 23 to Národní třída.

At the eastern end of the Quadrio shopping centre (Obchodní centrum, OC) is a large shiny rotating head of Franz Kafka, whose pieces rotate in different directions before coming back together as a whole. The 11-metre tall kinetic piece consists of 42 horizontal layers which can all move independently; see video below. With his face in a constant state of metamorphosis, the sculpture can represent Kafka’s anguish and complicated personality, a giant piece of metal reflecting outwards what might otherwise have been a form of introverted hell.

David Cerny, sculpture, contemporary art, Prague, Praha, Czech Republic, fotoeins.com

Photo: 5 November 2016.

David Cerny, sculpture, contemporary art, Prague, Praha, Czech Republic, fotoeins.com

Photo: 5 November 2016.


Piss (Proudy)

Location: Franz Kafka Museum, Malá Strana.
DPP: Metro A to Malostranská; tram 2, 12, 15, 18, 20, 22, 23 to Malostranská; tram 12, 15, 20, 22, 23 to Malostranské náměstí.

Two masculine statues relieve themselves in a metal pool of water in the shape of the map of the Czech Republic. The statues whirl and twirl their “streams” to spell out famous Czech sayings. The sculpture has its own mobile number; a text sent to that number will make the sculpture pause and begin “streaming” whatever that text message is. Located next to the Franz Kafka museum, the sculpture “mocks the idea of art as a cultural enterprise devoted to the national interest.”

David Cerny, sculpture, contemporary art, Prague, Praha, Czech Republic, fotoeins.com

Photo: 3 July 2008.


Quo Vadis?

Location: back of German Embassy at Vlašská 19, Malá Strana.
DPP: Tram 12, 15, 20, 22, 23 to Malostranské náměstí.

The “Trabant on four legs” at the rear of the German embassy marks an extraordinary set of events in late-summer/early-autumn of 1989. Thousands of East German refugees made their way into Prague and swarmed into the Embassy of West Germany (at the time) to seek safe passage to the west. Conditions on the embassy grounds quickly deteriorated, and after rounds of talks and negotiations, the various parties and nations agreed to allow people to leave the embassy, sparking this unforgettable scene on the evening of 30 September 1989. “Quo Vadis?” in Latin means “who goes there?”

The sculpture is listed on this Czech website listing places commemorating former Communist rule.

David Cerny, Quo Vadis?, sculpture, German Embassy, Prague, Praha, Czech Republic, fotoeins.com

Back of the German Embassy in Prague. This photo and below: 17 March 2010.

David Cerny, sculpture, contemporary art, Prague, Praha, Czech Republic, fotoeins.com

Zátopek’s Legs (Zátopkovy nohy)

Location: DOX Centre for Contemporary Art, Holešovice.
DPP: Metro C to Nádraží Holešovice; tram 6, 12 to Ortenovo náměstí.

As part of the “All Hail Sport” temporary exhibition at DOX, Cerny’s sculpture of a lower torso with legs in running motion directly references (Emil) Zátopek. He was perhaps one of the finest Olympians and Czechs about whom people have rarely or never heard.

David Cerny, sculpture, contemporary art, Prague, Praha, Czech Republic, fotoeins.com

Photo: 7 November 2016.


Click on the arrow-window icon in the upper-left corner of the map below for the legend.

More: jedno, dvĕ, tři, čtyři, pĕt.

I made all photos and short video clips on multiple visits to Prague in 2008, 2009, 2010, 2013, and 2016. This post appears on Fotoeins Fotografie at fotoeins.com as http://wp.me/p1BIdT-3D9.

U Kasaren, Hradcany, Prag, Prague, Praha, Czech Republic, fotoeins.com

Praha: a favourite place to return (WPC)

Above/featured: U Kasáren from Loretánská, Hradčany – 30 July 2016 (HL).

On a personal level, the impact of this city can’t be gauged, measured, or quantified. What I know is I’ve roamed this place over countless little cobblestones. The sum of all strides led me to jumping continents and traversing nations with steps as large as my imagination could entertain and overcome.

And so, after the twelfth, fifteenth, or twentieth visit (I’ve lost count), I look at these images and ask why I surrender to the pull, why I return, and why the Czech capital city feels familiar. It’s about the old and the new, a colourful combination replacing what I’ve lost and amplifying what I’ve gained.

Prague is one of my favourite places to return.

summer sunrise, sunrise, summer, Karluv most, Charles Bridge, Prag, Prague, Praha, Czech Republic, fotoeins.com

Daybreak and a halo for St. John of Nepomuk, Charles Bridge (Karlův most) – 28 July 2013 (HL).

National Monument, Vítkov, Zizkov, Prag, Prague, Praha, Czech Republic, fotoeins.com

Over the city to the west from the National Monument on Vítkov (Národní památník na Vítkově), Žižkov – 2 August 2013 (HL).

Muzeum, stanice metra, metro station, DPP, Prag, Prague, Praha, Czech Republic, fotoeins.com

Metro line C commuters at Muzeum station, Vinohrady – 8 November 2016 (HL)

Ginger and Fred, Fred and Ginger, Dancing House, Tančící dům, Prag, Prague, Praha, Czech Republic, fotoeins.com

Dancing House (Tančící dům) with streaking northbound streetcar, Nové Město – 6 November 2016 (HL)

I wrote a “love letter” to Prague, which as many have discovered also includes “the night watch.”

I made all of the above images in 2013 and 2016. This post appears on Fotoeins Fotografie at fotoeins.com as https://wp.me/p1BIdT-bCs.

Staromestske namesti, Old Town Square, Prague, Praha, Czech Republic, fotoeins.com

Fotoeins Friday: Old Town Bubbles (Prague)

Countless visits to the Czech Republic’s capital city mean that there’s a real possibility of getting too much of a good thing, especially where the stretch of “royal mile” between Prague Castle and Old Town Square is concerned. But if there’s one thing I’ve promised to do more is to observe and photograph people in a variety of public settings. On an overcast morning, I push myself towards Old Town Square, and by mid-morning, the square is full of people as expected. The addition of a gentleman blowing soap bubbles for change is a welcome one. If only I can find a visitor taking a picture, “trapped” inside a bubble …

I made the photo above on 6 November 2016 with the Canon 6D, 24-105 zoom, and the following settings: 1/500s, f/8, ISO1000, and 47mm focal length. This post appears on Fotoeins Fotopress at fotoeins.com as http://wp.me/p1BIdT-9hU.

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