Two German Words in Czech Contemporary Public Space

Hans Kelsen Memorial Object realization proposal
Submitted by: Institute of State and Law of Academy of Sciences Czech Republic
Location: Národní 63/26, 110 00, Prague
Special Thanks to: Petr Agha

Principle of sculpture (located in Kelsen’s birthplace) prioritizes significance of the author’s work in the context of international law over traditional and mechanical portrayal of the scientist’s appearance. Today’s MY building represents listed building by respected architects John Eisler, Miroslav Masák, and Martina Rajniš. The proposed design therefore accepts architectural character of the building and the functional framework of the environment in which it is placed. It formally adopts mimicry of the surroundings and attempts to blend with the surrounding street signs, while its content is the result of textual quotation of Kelsen’s key terms “Sein” and “Sollen” which demonstrate the attempt to denominate, in terms of interpretation of legal doctrine, mutual independence of the terms. To use a gross simplification, it can be said that Kelsen describes the relationship between law and society, or prescriptions, and interconnections of “what is” and “what should be”.

The technological concept of the monument involves installation of two opposite cast-iron signs built on a system of pneumatic pistons. Mechanical pressure applied to the signs makes it possible to draw nearer, or, conversely, further apart, one sign from the other (on a joint horizontal plane) and thus demonstrate their virtual interconnectedness. In respect to historical significance of Národní třída in modern history of the Czech Republic and its busy commercial traffic, this mechanism also symbolically provokes the question: “How much of the public space can be appropriated?”
Following a completed two-year proceedings and acquisition of own financial funding of the realization, the project has been – despite its support from the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, Faculty of law of Masaryk University, Faculty of Law of Charles University, and Austrian Consulate in Prague – stopped by the owner of the building, TESCO Czech Republic, for the reason of “potential loss of advertising space”.