2014, Oil on Italian Linen, 120 x 100cm
Once upon a time in central Prague there stood a monument dedicated to the Soviet Tank Crews, a real tank atop a massive 5 metre stone pedestal, its barrel symbolically pointing westward. Intended to celebrate the liberation from Nazi tyranny, following the communist coup and the Soviet invasion that ended the Prague Spring, it came to represent an alternative tyranny.
Enter David Černý. One night in April 1991 then art student Černý painted the tank pink. And then signed it.
Černý was arrested for creating “public disturbances” and the tank re-painted green. However, taking advantage of their official immunity, fifteen newly elected parliamentary members re-painted the tank pink in protest. Černý was released and the tank removed.
Other monuments that deify war might benefit from such an intervention. Especially those used by world’s most powerful military machine to mythologise the glory of their quest.