Every so often, something happens that takes art out of the sequestration of galleries and into the political forefront. That happened in Prague, where artist David Cerny created a giant purple hand with its too-long middle finger extended. The hand was placed on a boat and set adrift on the Vltava River, where it can be seen from the Czech seat of the presidency.
This drifting hand is far from meaningless, though – Cerny timed it to coincide with elections. Specifically, Cerny is strongly anticommunist, and the communist party appears, at least in the Czech Republic, to be poised to gain power in the new elections. If the communists do indeed wrestle power from the current government, it would be the first time since 1989.
Cerny is far from obscure – his sculptures can be found around Prague, his native city. Cerny’s works are known for being controversial, but the purple hand has made headlines for its gall, unique presentation, and timely political commentary. Unique and controversy-causing though it may be, the giant purple hand is another day’s work for Cerny.