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David Černý | Artist
Prague, Czech Republic

David Černý was born 1967 in Prague, Czech Republic, as son of a graphic designer father and a mother who was a restorer of art in the National Gallery of Prague. Creating extreme controversy with his work, this international sculptor has been described as “witty, exciting, kinetic, crass and provocative”. His works polarize, they are characteristically bold, courageous and reach into sensitive political, historical and social themes, all sprinkled with the unconventional artist´s sarcastic humor. In his hometown of Prague alone, Černý has 14 installations in public spaces that have become major public attractions.

He learned his trade at the Academy of Applied Art in the country´s capital, studied in Boswil on a grant from the Swiss government, and also in New York City at P.S.I. Artists Residence New York before taking part in the Whitney Museum independent Study Program.

In 2001 he created a non-profit cultural art and event center in a former 1920s glass warehouse in Prague, which he named the “Meet Factory”. Černý calls his factory a “multicultural supermarket”, as it houses a theater, music stage and 16 studios occupied by a total of 30 international artists.

The former Foreign Minister of the Czech Republic, Karel Schwarzenberg, once said: "An artist can rarely be a great artist if he is in conformity. I have known few artists in life who were not in opposition. David Černý is no exception. Doing it more funny than most, more provocative than most, is also right." (Metropolis on 4.7. 2009, ARTE / HR)

In 2004, Černý was presented for the first time with his works at NordArt in Büdelsdorf near Hamburg/Germany - the largest juried exhibition of contemporary art in Northern Europe - with two oversized babies made of fibre glass, crawling up the old carriage house in the sculpture park, as they do as a permanent installation at the TV tower in Prague. Paintings, sculptures, photographs and installations from more than 200 selected artists from all over the world can be viewed at the NordArt exhibition. As a focus artist in 2017 and the NordArt prize-winner in 2016, David Černý is represented with several of his works at this year's exhibition.

Besides numerous exhibitions worldwide, he is working as an actor and stage designer for several performances and movies.

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Studies and scholarships:

  • 1995 - 1996: Whitney Museum, Independent Study Program, New York
  • 1994 - 1995: P.S.I. artists residence, New York
  • 1991: Sculptor's residency grant, Swiss government in Boswil
  • 1988 - 1994: Academy of Applied Arts, Prague

Grants and awards:

  • 2000: Chalupecky Prize, National prize for young artist, Czech Republic
  • 1996: Pollock Krasner Foundation Grant, USA
  • 1990: Special Prize in the Biennale of Kortrijk, Belgium

Excerpt from his work