'Babies' – Prague, Czechia - Atlas Obscura


Žižkov Television Tower

Straight out of a nightmare, barcode-faced babies climb up and down Prague's television tower. 


The city of Prague is infamous for its unusual, often bizarre public art, much of which was created by Czech sculptor David Černý. Another of his works can be found on the exterior of the Žižkov Television Tower, and it’s the stuff of nightmares.

Miminka (Babies in English) consists of 10 fiberglass sculptures of babies crawling up and down the tower. Each approximately 11.5 feet long and 8.5 feet tall, and weighing 550 pounds, they seem to defy gravity. And if giant babies aren’t creepy enough, their faces are replaced with barcodes.

The first of the Miminka sculptures was introduced in 1994 at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, and it then traveled across the world. In 2000, 10 of them were placed on the Television Tower’s exterior, then as a temporary installation. They were met by a positive response, and soon it was decided to keep them permanently.

Perhaps due to the initial plan to have them there for a limited time, the original statues’s durability was insufficient. They were replaced by new pieces in 2019: heavier, more durable, and better attached to the tower. The originals were removed in 2017 and returned to Černý, who loaned them to Palm Springs as a temporary installation.

Eight more copies, made of bronze, can be found on Kampa Island in Prague. They were installed in 2008 and, unlike the originals, not crawling on the wall, but on the ground. Whether that makes them more or less creepy—for being so much easier to see—is up to the viewer.

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