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The symbol of freedom of speech is finally open to the public again

Lennon's Wall comes back to life - sprayers better forget about graffiti, though!

Karolína Lišková
07.Nov 2019
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2 minutes to read
John Lennon je zpět na své zdi.

The wall covered in graffiti and street art has been brought back to life. It had been hidden under scaffoldings for a month due to reconstruction that cost a quarter of a million crowns, after which artists were granted access to the wall. Within a day, they managed to replace the symbols that inherently belonged there.

Umělci celý čtvrtek pracovali na nové podobě zdi.
Zeď byla měsíc v rekonstrukci.

A portrait of iconic John Lennon welcomes you as you approach. Instead of a disarrayed mess of various creations, the wall is now decorated with artworks by more than 30 artists from both the Czech Republic and abroad, who captured their ideals of freedom or an iconic portrait of Lennon on this symbolic place. The concept of artistic installation on the wall was brought to life under the leadership of a top Czech designer Pavel Šťastný, with creators across continents, generations and professions cooperating on the implementation.

Freedom and love

"A great international cooperative work MEET ART will be created on 150 m2, combining the meaning of the words freedom and love. Lennon's Wall served this purpose during totalitarianism, and I am glad that its meaning will be preserved. One of the artistic motifs is the song by John Lennon 'All You Need Is Love'," Pavel Šťastný introduces the concept. Glassmakers Vladimír Kopecký and Jakub Berdych, sculptors Kurt Gebauer, Esther and Lela Geisler or a jewelery designer Victoria from the famous Beld family all helped give Lennon's Wall its new face.

Prodej rodinného domu, Praha 9 - 123m
Prodej rodinného domu, Praha 9 - 123m, Praha 9

Open in gallery (2)
Symboly Lennonovy zdi jsou zpět.
Symboly Lennonovy zdi jsou zpět. Source: archiv

A memorial place

Lennon's Wall had no official status until now. That's why any vandal who wanted to scribble something on it was free to do so. Guides would even bring drunken tourists here at night, putting spray cans in their hands and encouraging them to try and write something. This resulted not only in texts unrelated to the original idea behind ​​the wall, but also in disorder and vandalism. Local natives were complaining about that.

Prague 1 has therefore declared the wall a memorial place this week and will see to it that vandals don't have a chance to destroy it again.

"It is a symbol of freedom that deserves our respect and our protection. That's why we gave Lennon's Wall the status that it deserves, but hadn't had before, to mark the 30th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution,"

explains the deputy mayor of Prague 1 Petr Hejma. In the event of damage, the wall will be cleaned by experts from Prague Services, who are partners of the new concept.

Open in gallery (2)
Zeď se pod nánosem barev téměř propadala.
Zeď se pod nánosem barev téměř propadala.Source: Facebook Lennonovy zdi

Free creation

That doesn't mean, though, that there will be no chance to write something on the wall. Pavel Šťastný and his art group deliberately left empty zones between their installations, in which visitors will still be able to leave their peaceful messages. However, they should replace spray cans with more sensitive instruments, such as pencil or chalk.

"Not everyone is a decent sprayer; most people will do a better job using a pencil. We have taken a number of measures against vandalism and destruction, we have set clear rules here. We want to give the free expression on the wall another chance,"

explains the Chancellor of the Maltese Order, who owns the wall, Johannes Lobkowicz.

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