Graffiti. Tagging. Pasting. Stenciling. Stickers. Sculptures. It comes in many forms, both sanctioned and illegal.
Everywhere your travels take you in Prague, you will encounter an overwhelming amount of street art. It peeks out from behind corners, bleeds through the cracks, and dangles from the ceilings. Only the most revered and protected spots remain clean-- until an opportunistic "writer" comes along to tell his or her story with the language of the wall. I'll walk you through some of the best places to check out one of Prague's unique subcultures.
Negotiations with the municipality granted the graffiti writers of Prague a number of legal sites within city limits. Without the threat of arrest, the writers--with many graduated art students among their ranks --can create incredibly detailed and complex works.
|The Těšnov graffiti site is home to a staggering amount of unique pieces.|
As part of my Subcultures of Prague class, we took a day trip to the Těšnov legal site, one of these protected locations. The wall is a piece of living art, constantly changing as new artists join the mix. It's best to visit during the weekend, as it serves as a rather busy parking lot on most weekdays! It's definitely worth checking out.
|An underground mural painted by one of the most prolific Czech writers, Pasta Oner.|
In 2011, The Prague Public Transport authority commissioned the painting of a number of stations in an attempt to stifle unauthorized (and often crude) graffiti. A number of contemporary artists were enlisted, including the iconic Pasta Oner. These massive murals greet you as you enter and exit the metro cars, a vital resource in exploring the expanse of Prague.
But Prague is not only decorated with the graces of the spray can. Other artists have employed more... unique methods.
Alright, there's no gentle way to put this. Prague is sometimes weird, but in the best ways possible. Prague is home to a number of surreal masterpieces, and perhaps the strangest I have yet to encounter are David Černý's installations. His works include (functional) peeing statues, an upside-down horse, and, you guessed it, baby sculptures.
| A trio of Černý's babies can be found
outside Museum Kampa. They're... odd.
See? These caught my eye in one of my first days walking around Prague, and I only recently discovered something much more concerning:
There are more. A lot more.
|More of Černý's wonderful spawn crawling over Žižkov Tower.|
From a distance, you would think that Žižkov tower appears to be a normal (and helpful!) landmark along the skyline of Prague. Well, you're wrong. It's actually home to a herd of Černý's little demons. Don't get me wrong, it's impressive and quite the sight to behold. That doesn't change how weird it is.
I love this city.
Andrew Guastaferro is the Fall 2015 CEA MOJO Blogger in Prague, Czech Republic. He is currently a senior at Chapman University.
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