The iconic moving sculpture featuring the head of Franz Kafka, situated near Národní Avenue, is set to undergo a comprehensive restoration in the upcoming weeks. The artwork, crafted by David Černý, will be entirely disassembled within the next few days, with all forty-two stainless steel rotating levels receiving essential maintenance work. This process is expected to span several weeks and will also encompass the installation of a more advanced rotation system.
František Šlapák, the asset manager at CPI Property Group, explains, “We’ve been contemplating a thorough refurbishment of this exceptional piece of art for some time. Originally, the statue continuously rotated throughout the day, but due to the rapid wear and tear of its individual components, we’ve had to reduce its operating time on multiple occasions.”
The implementation of a fresh rotating mechanism for each level is intended to extend the lifespan and facilitate maintenance for at least the next 15 years. This technology draws inspiration from applications in wind power plants, among other fields.
Starting on Monday, 25 September, scaffolding will be erected around Kafka’s head, and a protective cover with informative graphics will envelop the vicinity. The work will progress with the gradual disassembly of the sculpture into its constituent parts, which will then be transported away from the site. A crane will be employed from above to disassemble the individual levels. If all proceeds as planned, this beloved Prague attraction could return to its location later this year.
The dynamic bust of Franz Kafka in front of the Quadrio department store stands at an impressive 10.6 meters in height and boasts a weight of 39 tonnes. It was officially unveiled on 31 October 2014, representing a unique artistic creation that seamlessly blends modern mechanical technology with traditional Czech craftsmanship.
The current design incorporates solutions rooted in industrial automation and robotics. Within the sculpture, there are 42 actuators and nearly a kilometer of cables. The stainless steel panels rotate independently, enabling passers-by to observe the renowned writer’s visage in a range of expressions.