Metalmorphosis is a kinetic fountain in the form of a human head. Made by world renowned contemporary Czech sculptor David ?erný, this masterpiece turned the Whitehall Technology Park in Charlotte, NC into a place worth visiting.
David ?erný became notorious in his home country more than 20 years ago, when he painted a Soviet tank pink in the center of Prague. Ever since, he has created many controversial pieces of art, the most recent being London Booster, a double-decker that did push-ups with his mechanical arms. As you have probably anticipated, his most recent work was done for the 2012 Summer Olympics, which took place in London.
Metalmorphosis, one of his older works, is a gigantic kinetic fountain covered in mirrors. The 7.6 meter (30 feet) tall sculpture weighs 14 tons. Had it been made from a single piece, it would have been quite easy to set up, even even at this height and weight. However, the sculptor imagined the head as being composed of 7 concentric parts. If you have paid attention till now, then you noticed the word “kinetic” mentioned several times. Apart from the segment found at the base of the sculpture, all of the other pieces are rotating, sometimes in the same direction, sometimes in opposite directions. To make this even more confusing (and mind-blowing!), the pieces rotate at different speeds, so you should be very lucky to see the human face looking normally, even for a split second.
According to the Czech artist, the massive stainless steel sculpture features motors and a computer driven control center that sets the mirrored layers in motion. These details were taken from David ?erný’s web site, which looks very 1990-ish.
As a YouTube user commented on the above video, on October 14, 2012, the giant head disappeared from Charlotte, never to be seen again, with only the cement pillar he stood on left behind. Should this prove to be true, I can only say that it is a real shame. No matter how controversial some of the other works of this artist are, Metalmorphosis would absolve him from all his sins. The only acceptable scenario would be that the Czech sculptor himself asked the sculpture to be removed, but I do not think that a mentally healthy person would do such a thing, especially considering the uniqueness of this masterpiece. I can only hope that the sculpture is still there and that I will get to see it in all of its glory someday.