TANK No. 23
Prague Travel Blog› entry 5 of 13 › view all entries
February 8th, 2009 – by: pragkid
David Cerny & the Stunners, 1991
The Soviet Memorial on Kinskych Square came to be known as Tank No. 23 and more than a symbol of the liberation from Nazi Germany, for many Czechs the tank became a reminder of the Soviet-led occupation of Czechoslovakia, ending the ’68 Prague Spring.
On April 28th 1991, between late night and early morning David Cerny, a 23 year old art student at Prague’s Academy of Fine Arts, with the help of about 14 others, the group known as the Stunners, painted Tank No. 23 bright pink.
“The tank was naturally steaming me up, but I really wasn’t sure about painting it…Can’t they see its art? Isn’t it signed?” Tomas Pospiszyl, Stunner.
As Tank No. 23 was still a national cultural monument at that time, his act of civil disobedience was considered “hooliganism” and he was briefly arrested. The Czechoslovak Army would have no such nonsense as a pink tank, so three days later soldiers arrived with buckets of paint and gave the tank a new green coat.
Ten days later a group of parliament deputies, with help from the released Cerny, repainted it pink in support of his initial act.
To end the dispute Tank No. 23 was finally taken away.
Cerny’s popularity as a young artist in Prague exploded. Today he is perhaps Prague’s most important modern sculptor, a father of the medium.
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