Imagine yourself waking up one morning and finding yourself transformed into a large insect.
How would you react? What would you do? What will your family and friends think about you?
This gripping story of a young man whose life was changed forever when he woke up as an insect is Franz Kafka’s most well-known work, The Metamorphosis. Ever since I read it, I became an avid reader of his stories.
When I found myself in Prague, therefore, I made it a point to go to the Kafka Museum which was located by the Vltava River. From the famous Charles Bridge, I could easily see where it was.
I didn’t immediately go there, though, I took my time walking around, arriving in Prague Castle when it was already dark. I went back to the Kafka Museum the next day.
I took the long route going to the museum; when you’re in Prague, you have to walk, walk, walk in order to appreciate the sights better. The Museum Shop was hard to miss; it had a huge picture of a dashing young Kafka outside, and there were also several posters announcing its location. I was told, however, that I would have to use the other entrance in order to go inside the museum.
Once I turned in the driveway, a curiously shaped-fountain greeted me. It was the peeing statues in Prague, and they were moving from side to side, their “members” rising up and down realistically with the water coming out of them.
Called Proudy, the peeing statues made of bronze was finished in 2004 by the famous (and oftentimes controversial) artist David Černý, the same one who made the crawling babies up the Žižkov Tower.
According to Černý, the status were standing and pissing on Czech Republic itself. (Note the shape of the basin.) The movements of the status seem random, until you realize that they seem to be “writing” on the water.
And indeed, the artist said that Proudy does trace out Czech quotes with their pee, and if you were to send a message to a mobile number indicated beside the sculptures, they would interrupt their literary peeing and write your message instead.
Unfortunately, I didn’t get to see that myself, as I was in a hurry to enter the museum. When I went inside, though, I was told that it had already closed for the day.
Even though I didn’t get to see Kafka’s works inside the museum, from letters and diaries, to his original manuscripts and drawings, I didn’t consider my visit there a waste, after having seen Proudy in its pissing best.
If I had more time in Prague, I would have loved to see all of David Černý’s works!