Flaming POINT, Jan Palach Square, Prague 2004
Material: wooden laths, plywood, screws, acrylic paint, UV sprays
This Point is my classic. I installed it on 12 February 2004, which should have been my father’s 60th birthday but unfortunately he did not live to see it. I had picked that place long ago. It’s a round shaped exhaust fan for an underground garage which is right in the middle of the square and looks like an ideal plinth for a sculpture of some sort. The place has been empty for years and even the square itself appears strangely underused. I only learnt from the media later that the Prague Council consider it an eyesore too.
I decided to put the object up without permission. It’s less work, more fun and the result is usually the same. I had to arrange two trucks which, by the way, did not have authorisation to enter the city centre. The whole plan was executed without a single problem on a frosty morning and within half an hour the 3D Point was up and I only needed to anchor the individual parts, to make sure they did not blow away in the strong wind, which was coming in from the river, and collapse onto someone. I think I had about 7 guys helping to move it around.
I sprayed the object using my favourite UV paint. It was a combination of red and orange but it was hardly noticeable and the resulting look was monochrome. The lurid UV colours worked really well in the wintery atmosphere of the grey street. Especially in the evening, the object looked as if it was in flames. By the way, Jan Palach Square takes its name after a student who had burnt himself in a protest against the communist regime.
I did not expect the installation to create such a stir. Prague Council ordered me and Masker, who had made the four plaster girls which looked as though they were running around the installation, to remove it, and it was commented on by most of the media. A few days later, I left for the UK, to spend two weeks making an exhibition there, so I kind of ran away. The day of my return, the installation was just being removed and all I got to see was a bunch of guys sweeping screws off the concrete plinth and discussing that there were so many it would be enough to build a house.