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Czech Sculptor Transforms London Bus Into Olympic Art Installation

A London bus that has been transformed into a robotic sculpture by Czech artist David Cerny is assembled in front of the Czech Olympic headquarters in London.
The controversial Czech artist David Cerny has turned a British double-decker bus into an athlete doing push-ups in order to celebrate the Olympic Games, which open in London on July 27.

Cerny bought the 1957 Routemaster bus in the Netherlands. He attached two huge arms, an electrical engine, and a lot of wiring and suspension tools to make it into a piece he calls "London Booster."

The mechanics inside make the red six-ton bus move up and down on bright-red arms, raising the chassis into various angles. It is accompanied by recordings of a groaning voice and video projections in the windows.

Czech sculptor David Cerny
Czech sculptor David Cerny
The bus is to be installed today near London housing for the Czech Olympic team.

Cerny says he hopes it will do push-ups through the entire Summer Games.

"There is one common exercise for every sportsman in the world, and that is push-ups," Cerny says. "So I thought the push-ups would be perfect fun. The thing about push-ups is also that, on one hand, it is training for sport activities. But at the same time, it is also punishment in armies or prisons. So push-ups are a very universal kind of movement of proving physical abilities. And that's why I like it. So it is, in a way, very ironic of course."

Cerny's past works have irked the London police as well as European politicians and Russian diplomats.

David Cerny's "Entropa" in the atrium of the EU Council headquarters in Brussels
David Cerny's "Entropa" in the atrium of the EU Council headquarters in Brussels
In 2009, he unveiled a huge puzzlelike installation called "Entropa" at an EU building in Brussels. Depicting European countries in unflattering ways, it marked a dramatic start to the Czech Republic's EU presidency.

Bulgaria protested for being represented as a squat toilet. Germany was a Swastika-like web of highways. France was covered by an "On Strike" banner, while Britain was missing altogether.

In the early 1990s at a London art fair, Cerny put up posters and large replicas of guns, calling on people to observe a "Day of Killing" to control population growth.

In the context of those earlier works, the London bus appears to be much less controversial.

With reporting by Reuters and AFP
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