David Cerny – London Booster

Posted by Fabio 27 July 2012

World-renowned Czech sculptor David Cerny is to unveil his first major, public commission in London for over a decade. Entitled, London Booster, this extraordinary sculpture consists of a double-decker London bus manufactured in 1957, which Cerny has fitted with enormous mechanical arms allowing it to do press-ups. The work has been created to coincide with London hosting the Olympics and will be on display outside the Business Design Centre in Islington, which will be transformed into Czech House for the duration of the games.

Cerny has been responsible for some of the most controversial public sculpture of our time and first came to wider public attention with his Monument to Soviet Tank Crews (1991). In an act of guerrilla art, he painted a Soviet Tank war memorial pink. He has since completed other politically charged works such as Shark (2005) and Entropa (2008). The former is based on Damien Hirst’s The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living (1991), but instead of a shark uses a bound figure of Saddam Hussein suspended in formaldehyde; the latter caused both outrage and admiration at its installation in the European Council. Other widely recognised works include Babies on the Tower (2001) in Prague and Metalmorphosis (2007) in North Carolina. Such projects have led to his work being featured in publications including the Financial Times, The Sunday Times, The Guardian and The New York Times.

Over the last twenty years Cerny’s works have continued to grow in ambition and scale, and London Booster is no exception. The bus will move up and down to varying heights and angles of elevation and will provide additional video and audio content through the windows which are made from a continuous television screen. The complex engineering required to build this monumental moving piece has taken six months of planning and construction. Cerny comments:

“The obsession with sport, the frenzy it generates, sometimes even ending in street war and regularly in a dependence on the activity, always amazed me. And the only sport which I’m able to watch passively is pole dancing. Although objectively speaking, I’m quite sporty: biking, swimming, flying, certainly I would not call myself an athlete. I’m probably obtaining dopamine from other physical sources. Press-ups are a particular physical exercise which every athlete does, but they also form part of a military drill and sometimes are forced on prisoners as punishment.
When I was approached by the architects of the Czech House to work on a piece, I took the challenge and, I hope, besides its monumentality and humour, the London Booster shows a certain ambivalence and irony”

The completion of this ambitious project has been made possible through the generous support of Andrej Babiš of Agrofert Holding. After its return to Prague, it will be housed on a specially constructed plinth outside the Agrofert Headquarters accessible to the public.

London Booster will be on display from the 24th July 2012.