The revolving head of Franz Kafka by David Černý will undergo a general reconstruction

3. 10. 2023

The moving statue depicting the head of Franz Kafka, located near Prague's Národní Avenue, will undergo a complete revitalization in the coming weeks. At the end of September, the work of art by David Černý will be completely dismantled in a few days and all forty-two rotating stainless steel floors will receive the necessary repairs. This will take several months and will also include the installation of a more modern rotating system used, among other things, in wind farms.

"We have been considering the complete reconstruction of this unique piece of art for a long time. The sculpture originally rotated continuously throughout the day, but due to the rapid wear and tear of the individual components, we have had to reduce the operating time several times in the past. With our service partner, Deus Automation, we agreed on the need to install a new rotation mechanism for each floor. We promise a longer bearing life and easier maintenance," says František Šlapák, asset manager at CPI Property Group, adding: "Franz Kafka's head is one of the most sought-after works of public art in Prague and we will do everything possible to ensure that the repair is carried out as quickly as possible and that this essential part of the Quadrio will function without any problems for at least another 15 years."
On Monday, 25 September, scaffolding will be erected around Kafka's head and a tarpaulin with information graphics will cover the scene. The work will gradually be dismantled into its component parts and removed from the site. To ensure maximum safety for the public and the mechanics, the area will be covered with a protective tarp and the individual floors will be dismantled using a crane from above. "Every overhaul is a challenge. However, if no unexpected complications arise, we believe that the statue will be available to tourists and fans of modern art again this year," František Šlapák specifies the expected completion date of the reconstruction.
The moving bust of Franz Kafka is 10.6 metres high and weighs 39 tonnes. It is located in front of the Quadrio shopping centre, where it was unveiled on 31 October 2014. It is a unique artistic creation combining modern mechanical technology and traditional Czech craftsmanship. The existing construction uses solutions known from industrial automation and robotics - inside the sculpture there are 42 actuators and almost a kilometre of cables. Interestingly, the stainless steel panels rotate independently of each other, allowing passers-by to admire the face of the famous writer in a variety of grimaces.
Due to its technological complexity, the work requires regular servicing, which is provided by Deus Automation. In particular, the mechanisms in the individual rotating parts are lubricated. Every year, the work undergoes more extensive maintenance.
Detailed information about the reconstruction process and current images from the site can be viewed on the quadrio.cz website.