Starting its engine for the 2012 Olympics: Artist’s giant sculpture of an athlete doing push-ups, made from a 1957 London bus
A controversial artist has produced a fitting work to commemorate the 2012 Olympics – a mechanical sculpture of an athlete doing push-ups, made from a traditional London bus.
With two giant arms and an electrical engine, the 1957 bus has been transformed into a piece of art by Czech sculptor David Cerny.
The work, named London Boosted, has been installed outside the Czech Olympic House in Islington, north London, to mark the Games’ opening in the capital on Friday.
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Fitting: A traditional bus has been transformed into a mechanical sculpture of an athlete doing push-ups
Taking a ride: Artist David Cerny works on the London bus he has converted into a robotic sculpture
Wiring and suspension tools help the six-tonne bus move up and down on bright red arms, raising the chassis into various angles, accompanied by recordings of a groaning voice and video projections in the windows.
Cerny, who bought the bus from an owner in the Netherlands, said: ‘There is one common exercise for every sportsman in the world, and that is push-ups.
‘It is training for sport activities but at the same time it is also punishment in armies and prisons.
‘So the push-ups are a very universal physical activity… It is in a way very ironic.’
Big push: Workers check the giant hydraulic arms on the converted London bus
Job well done: Cerny stands back and surveys his giant artwork, which is named London Boosted
The sculpture is less controversial than some of Cerny’s previous works, which have enraged European politicians and sought to poke fun at rival artists.
In 2009, as the Czech Republic began its EU presidency, Cerny revealed a huge puzzle-like object called Entropa, which portrayed European countries in unflattering ways.
The work, installed in an EU building in Brussels, attracted protests from Bulgaria, which was shown as a squat toilet.
Germany was a Swastika-like web of highways, including moving cars, France was covered by an ‘On Strike’ banner and Britain was missing altogether.
Work in progress: The Czech artist built the sculpture in a factory in Prague
Celebration: Cerny, watching the scuplture’s assembly from a chair at the Prague factory, hopes the bus athlete will become an unofficial mascot of the London 2012 Games
Unusual: The 1957 London bus, bought from an owner in the Netherlands, has been fitted with huge arms and an electrical engine
In the Czech Republic, Cerny once painted pink a Soviet tank, which was serving as a monument of the Allies’ 1945 liberation of Prague from Nazi control.
His work Shark was a statue of former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein floating in formaldehyde. It was meant to poke fun at British artist Damien Hirst’s embalmed shark, and was banned from exhibitions in Belgium and Poland.
In the 1990s Cerny also sparked controversy at an art fair by putting up large replicas of guns and posters in London, calling on people to observe a ‘Day of Killing’ to control population growth.
Cerny said of his latest work: ‘We will see how long the athlete can work out for.
‘Let’s hope he will exercise for the full three weeks. He will be the biggest sportsman there.’
Controversial: David Cerny has enraged politicians and poked fun at rival artists with previous works
In the red: Two workers paint a hand for the bus sculpture
Men at work: A factory worker welds the hydraulics for one of the athlete’s arms to the bus
Sparks fly: David Cerny cuts a component for his impressive sculpture
Rear view: Two workers prepare to paint the back of the bus
Grand plans: Cerny has described his project as ‘very ironic’
Overhaul: The six-tonne bus has been transformed to mark the Games in London, which begin on Friday
Cerny’s sculpture isn’t the first work of art produced for the Olympics to feature an old vehicle in an unlikely new position.
Earlier this month MailOnline featured artist Richard Wilson’s unusual installation of a coach perched on the toof of the De La Warr Pavilion in Bexhill, East Sussex.
The work is inspired by the final scene of the film The Italian Job, which ends with a bus hanging precariously over the edge of a cliff.
Mr Wilson named the installation after Michael Caine’s last line in the 1969 movie – ‘Hang on a minute lads, I’ve got a great idea…’.
On the edge: Eddie Izzard holds the Olympic Torch in front of the Italian Job-inspired instillation by artist Richard Wilson in Bexhill, East Sussex