THE STATUE, K on Sun, is a work by satirical Czech artist, David Czerny, that depicts a giant bust of the famed Czech author, Franz Kafka. It is located in central Prague, near to the office building in which Kafka worked his day job for an insurance company, and in front of the Quadrio business centre, which financed the work.
K on Sun is made up of 42 layers of stainless steel, 38 of which are movable. Using a mechanised design, like that of an astronomical clock, the layers can rotate in either direction (up to six rpm) and are able to be fully programmed, to make the pieces move at random or in a pre-designed sequence. In total, the statue stands 10m tall, and weighs 45 ton.
Completed in 2014, the statue’s design is linked to an earlier piece of Czerny’s work; a statue of his own head made of rotating stainless steel layers known as Metalmorphosis. This title suggests a link to Kafka’s novel, The Metamorphosis, was already on Czerny’s mind in 2011, when that work was completed in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Reportedly a distraction from the frustrations of the surrounding bureaucracy, K on Sun is not the most peculiar of Czerny’s works. Other notable mentions include babies climbing the Zizkov TV Tower, an embryo in a drainpipe, bent over figures with video screens inside – visible by climbing a ladder and poking your head into the sculpture naked rear end (FUTURA Gallery), and sculptures of men urinating into a map of the Czech Republic. This last work is located in front of the Kafka museum, further linking the artist and the writer together.
As a German-language author in the Czech Republic, Kafka’s books were not widely popular during his lifetime, and his focus on the minutiae of everyday life appears to be inconsistent with a large ostentatious statue in a widely public place. Some have theorised, however, that the statue also represents the author’s struggle with depression and self-doubt, through the fracturing of the image as it turns.
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