Černy's Buried Soviet Tank
A half-buried vehicle in Prague's is the latest iteration in a long-running piece by Czech artist David Černý.
In 1991, provocative Czech artist David Černý painted the Monument to Soviet Tank Crews, a memorial at Prague’s Náměstí Kinských (Kinský Square) that for many represented the tank-led Soviet invasion of the country that crushed Prague Spring in 1968. For this radical act of art, he chose a shade of bubblegum pink.
Černý was arrested for the act and the paint was removed, but the tank was painted pink a second time by members of the Czech parliament in protest. It’s been pink ever since, and has become one of the most memorable images associated with the Soviet Invasion of Prague, as well as one of the most famous pieces created by Černý, now an internationally-renowned artist.
The tank was eventually moved out of Kinský Square and into a museum. But in 2001, another Soviet tank found its way into the square. It wasn’t a full tank, but rather only the rear end, with the rest of the vehicle apparently buried underneath the grass. Of course, it was painted the same shade of pink. Because Černý had installed the piece without permission, it was removed. In 2008, the artist installed another buried tank in response to the Russian-Georgian conflict.
On August 21, 2018, the 50th anniversary of the Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia, Černý covertly deployed something special at the former location of the Monument to Soviet Tank Crews. The new tank piece was not pink but a classic green color. According to iDNES.cz, this time the artist had received permission from the city of Prague to place the tank sculpture at the location while filming a documentary.
In March 2022, the tank hull was painted in the colors of the Ukrainian flag, blue and yellow, to protest the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Know Before You Go
Easy to find, follow Kinských road near the Propadliste casu Fountain.
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