When Czech artist David Černý was tasked with creating a piece of public art for a bus stop in Liberec, rather than making something whimsical like his London Booster or the babies crawling up Žižkov Tower, Černý installed a piece of biting commentary on the city’s political history.
Liberec is part of Sudetenland, a ring of German enclaves around Czechia’s borders. During World War II, Liberec became the epicenter of the German nationalist movement in Czechia. From 1938 until the end of the war, the city was part of Nazi Germany. The Jews of Liberec mostly fled from their city, after which Liberec’s main synagogue was burnt to the ground.
Černý’s bus shelter pays homage to Liberec’s complicated history. “Hostina Obrů,” or “Feast of Giants,” is in the shape of a table, with an array of representative items atop it. A toppled menorah sits between Czech and German beer steins. A vase stands full of carnivorous Venus flytraps, poised to swallow the insects in their jaws. Lastly, a human head lays cheek down on a dinner plate alongside traditional Liberec sausages, pierced by a fork and knife. This is the head of Konrad Henlein, a Czech politician who acted as Hitler’s puppet while the Nazi party annexed Sudetenland.
Five regular-sized bronze chairs sit below the giant dinner table. This is where people wait for the bus at the “Sokolská u zdi” stop, dwarfed beneath the city’s heavy history.
Know Before You Go
Feast of Giants is 35 m north of the Theater F. X. Šaldy.