David Cerny’s Saddam Hussein

The controversial Czech Republic artist David Cerny was recently interviewed by the Cafe Babel magazine.

Cerny is an artist that enjoys getting a reaction from his audience. He is famous for works like his “Shark” sculpture, where a model of the former Iraqi leader Saddam Husseim is suspended in a glass box filled with formaldehyde. It’s a tribute to everyone’s favorite bad boy, Damien Hirst and his “The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living” work.

saddam hussein sculpture

Here’s some quotes from the Cafe Babel interview with the sculptor..

+ I think that my biggest problem with the US is the artificiality. I was just about to move there when I decided that it really did piss me off that everybody was nice to me, because I was ‘that sculptor from Czechoslovakia.’ I was bored of this and at the same time I could have more fun here. I hesitated for a couple of years before finally coming back home. And not only because of the girls here!
David Cerny Quote

+ I designed a sculpture of a masturbating giant. The giant was supposed to decorate the top of the National Theatre, and there was supposed to be water shooting from his penis every now and then. The theatre director was such a coward that he gave up the project.
David Cerny Quote

Here’s the artist’s website here to see more of his works. And here’s a video of a David Cerny sculpture of two men pissing in Prague.

About Dion

Australian artist and observer of things.. all kinds of things. I like a wide variety of art, from the weird and wonderful to the bold and beautiful.. and everything in between.


  1. No problem, I enjoy his work and I hope others do too.

    Prague (where a lot of his sculptures/installations are) is also a great place to visit- I recommend it!

  2. Interesting, his work certainly does gain reaction! I could only imagine how that museum manager felt about the proposed works for the giant, I suppose that no matter where we are or when art will always have limitations of acceptance, even though i comes down to mere personal preference.

  3. David Cerny’s works are very politically engaged, so the shock value is used to get people to think about particular issues that he feels strongly about. For example:

    “..Czech sculptor David CernĂ½ gained international recognition in 1991 when he painted a Soviet tank on display in Prague pink. The symbolism of this act of artistic vandalism was unmistakable – after forty years of Soviet occupation, the symbol of a brutal foreign occupation was finally rendered powerless.”

    quotation from:


  4. I am not that impressed, it’s not that hard to come up with shocking ideas. The content is feigned and shallow and the point it makes is immature. This art work is a drop in the bucket in the real world. All stand up and give him a clap while I pass the hand grenades.

  5. Oh Howard, I enjoyed it lol! Not the shock value, like you say anybody can do that. I thought the fountain funny (men pee all over the flipping place in england and to me he is making a nod to that practice), and appropriating hirsts tank interesting politically. Hussein became a speciman to be used for propoganda purposes, so I think him floating in the tank naked and on public display reflects that, at least to me.

  6. The pissing men remind me of them angels that used to bu placed around ponds and fishtanks.

    I like them, especially as public art as it encourages people to have an opinion and a laugh at the same time. They probably wouldnt work as well in an art gallery or sculpture garden.

    It looks like his aim is more to make people laugh than to shock. He is funny in a black humor kind of way.

    The giant idea makes me laugh too. It would get people talking.

  7. Saddam again?
    It’s boring, first.
    It’s safe, second – to model already dead person.

    It’s better to put figure of Damien Hirst in the glass box. By the way, idea(c)Sergio Stark ;-)

  8. Damien Hirst in a tank of formaldehyde would be funny Sergio.

    I would like to see one tank filled with Hussein, Laden, Blair and Bush. It would be like a summary of our times.

    I would call it WAR.


  9. sergio, what a great idea LOL!

  10. This looks to me like a really obvious attempt to ride the hype created by Hirst. A bit too try-hard for my liking!!

  11. its ok but you need a better pic of it

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