In 1951, Otakar Švec was contracted to build a large statue of Stalin followed by a flank of proletarians in Prague, Czech Republic. Three weeks before May Day (the day which the statue was to be unveiled) Švec followed the lead of his wife and stuck his head into a stove, inhaled the gas, and killed himself. Otakar Švec won a contest held by the Communist Party (the only party) to create a piece of art with which he didn’t agree, and it would be that same Party which would also eventually side with his position. After revelations were made public about Stalin’s various crimes, the political climate had changed and Stalin was no longer regarded as a communist hero. In October 1962, the largest statue of Stalin on the planet was strapped with 800 kilograms of dynamite and blown up in a colossal display of government funded artistic destruction. The message being sent was loud and clear and bits of the statue scattered all over Letna Hill in Prague. The space remained empty until after the Velvet Revolution in 1991 when a large metronome was erected. The metronome represents the constant passage of time and, so far, no one has felt the urge to attack it. The area at which Stalin once stood looking over Prague is now inhabited by skateboarders who enjoy riding the smooth granite surface which was laid by the communists.
Posted by keith armstrong at 10:34 pm