OCTOPUS

There’s an Octopus in the Vltava!

Over the past few days, you may have noticed some interesting new additions to Prague’s streets.  Several temporary sculptures and installations will be adorning Prague’s streets up until September 30th this year as part of the open air exhibition project, Sculpture Line. Today, I took a breezy walk through the city with the intention of checking out some of the newcomers on Prague’s art scene. It was an enjoyable day, full of surprises and discoveries. Whenever I have visitors in Prague, the first thing that I always recommend they do is put on a pair of comfy shoes and spend a day just wandering around the city. The really great thing about the Sculpture Line project is that it takes you on a journey through some of the most beautiful parts of Prague and is therefore a great opportunity to combine culture and sightseeing.

Stop #1 outside the Kotva department store

DVAJA by Andrej Margoc

My journey began outside the uniquely hexagonal Kotva shopping centre. This vibrant pink creation, which for me was reminiscent of a spinning top, is hard to miss.

DVAJA
DVAJA

From here, the next stop is very close. It’s just a few metres away on Namesti Republiky.

Stop #2 Namesti Republiky

MIXED FEELINGS by Anthony Cragg

This huge, bronze creation was attracting quite a lot of attention. Maybe it was because of its prominent location or maybe it was because of its eye-catchingly abstract and slightly other-worldly form.

From here, the next stop is around 10 minutes walk away. Just continue walking along Na Prikope street, it will take you past the bottom of the famous Wenceslas Square and onto Jungmanovo Namesti. On Jungmanovo Namesti, you will find gates leading into the beautiful Frantiskanska Zahrada (Franciscan Gardens), where you will find the next sculpture.

Stop #3 Frantiskanska Zahrada

GREAT MISSIONARY by Jaroslav Kolesek

The sleek and stylish carbon structure is to be found in one of central Prague’s prettiest and best hidden gardens.

The next stop is around 10 minutes walk away. You will leave the gardens via a different way to where you entered. The exit will take you through a small shopping passage and onto Vodickova Street. Turn right onto Vodickova and follow the street uphill until you reach the Novomestska Radnice (New Town Hall).

Stop #4 In the courtyard of the Novomestska Radnice

EUPHORIE by Veronika Psotkova

This was one of my favourite sculptures of the day. It took a while to work out that the floating forms woven from wire were the figures of women blowing bubbles.

EUPHORIE
EUPHORIE

RECTOR by Olbram Zoubek

Those of you who are not new to the city of Prague may notice that there is something familiar about this statute. This is probably because it was Zoubek who created the famous Memorial to the Victims of Communism, which can be found at the foot of Petrin Hill.

RECTOR
RECTOR

For the next stop we will be heading down to the river. Just take a walk down Karlovo Namesti, turn right onto Spalena Street the left onto Myslikova Street. Myslikova Street will take you all the way to the riverside.

Stop #5 In the Vltava River, close to the Manes Art Gallery

OCTOPUS by Viktor Palus

This was certainly my favourite stop of the day. As I approached the river, I was surprised to see the writhing yellow tentacles of a rather sinister looking sea creature. As I got closer, I saw that the octopus was drifting up and down the river on a small boat.

OCTOPUS
OCTOPUS

The next stop is just a 5 minute walk along the riverside.

Stop #6 The Dancing House

AVARICE by Marc Moser

This next sculpture can be found outside of one of Prague’s most unique and iconic buildings, The Dancing House.  Whether you love it or hate it, this building is like nothing you will see anywhere else in the world.

AVARICE
AVARICE

The next stop is a 20 minute walk away. Just continue walking along the riverside, until you see the hilltop fortress of Vysehrad. On the way, be sure to check out some fantastic examples of Cubist Architecture.

Stop #7 Vysehrad Cultural Monument

TRIBUTE TO JOSEPH BEUYS by Antonin Kaspar

It’s a bit of a climb to get to the top of this hill, but it’s definitely worth it. The Vysehrad hilltop is one of my favourite places in Prague. There’s of course the imposing presence of the castle, along with the stunning views and also the beautiful and impressive cemetery, where leading figures in the Czech artistic community are buried. After a short walk through the castle’s gardens, I stumbled across these rather pleasing “piano like” sculptures.

TRIBUTE TO JOSEPH BEUYS
TRIBUTE TO JOSEPH BEUYS

The next stop is around 30 minutes walk away. If you don’t fancy the walk however, it’s possible to jump on a tram after walking down from the Vysehrad Fortress. Just take tram 7 or 21 from Vyton to the stop Andel.  If you would like to walk, you need to walk back on yourself down the river and then cross Palackeho Bridge. Once you have crossed the bridge, continue along Lidicka Street to Andel Metro Station.  From Andel, turn right onto Stefanikova until you come to Kartouzska Street on your left. Walk down Kartouzska Street until you reach the “Perfect Clinic”.

Stop #8 in the grounds of the Perfect Clinic

GIRL, BOY, WOMAN, MAN by Olbram Zoubek

The location of this one is a little bizarre. From what I could gather, the Perfect Clinic seemed to be a centre for plastic surgery. However, in the grounds you will find 4 sculptures in the distinctive style of Olbram Zoubek (we saw another sculpture by him earlier in the day at the Novomestska Radnice). These man and boy here are very reminiscent of figures in The Memorial to the Victims of Communism, probably because they are in the same pose.

GIRL, BOY, WOMAN, MAN
GIRL, BOY, WOMAN, MAN

The next stop is a 20 minute walk away (again, if you wish you could just take a tram to the stop Hellichova). Continue walking down Stefanikova, which will eventually turn into Ujezd. On your left, you will see the Memorial the the Victims of Communism. Turn right when you reach Hellichova tram stop.

Stop #9 Maltezske Namesti

OF_02 by Jan Kovarik

I will start by admitting that I completely failed to find this sculpture (hence no photo).  However, I have since done some online research and discovered where I went wrong. To see the sculpture you must enter the Ministry of Culture (Maltezske Namesti 1). Then, to see the sculpture, it is necessary to present ID to the receptionist.

Although I didn’t find the sculpture, I enjoyed wandering through this very beautiful and historical part of the city.

The last stop is just a 5 minute walk away, just continue walking down Ujezd until you reach Malostranske Namesti.

Stop #10 Malostranske Namesti

RUGGED STAND by Frantisek Skala

This installation was the biggest surprise out of the day. Made from the trunk of an actual oak tree, this sculpture also functions as a small refreshments stand, where you can by beer or get a glass of free drinking water.  It’s like something straight out of a fairy tale and couldn’t look more out of place surrounded by the grand architecture of Malostranske Namesti.

RUGGED STAND
RUGGED STAND

My excursion today only included those installations that can be found in the more central areas of Prague. However, if you really get into the artistic spirit, The Sculpture Line Exhibition is also taking place in some of Prague’s outlying districts. For information on the installations which aren’t featured in this article, have a look at the Sculpture Line website.

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