A London gallery has hung a giant pair of red underpants from its building in the heart of the capital in a salute to anti-populist sentiment in the UK and Europe.
The art project at the Red Gallery honours Czech guerrilla group Ztohoven, who replaced the president’s flag over Prague castle with a pair of giant red underpants back in 2015. The group dedicated the action to the country’s populist president Milos Zeman, describing the underwear as a banner “for a man who is not ashamed of anything”.
The controversy, which saw three Ztohoven given suspended jail time, died down until earlier this year, when the pants again became a symbol against Zeman’s re-election. The 73-year-old, who narrowly hung on to office, followed the vote by hunting down the giant pants from the Czech police and burning them at a surprise press conference, telling journalists he had made them look like “little idiots”.
The project is a last stand for the gallery, who will soon be moving out of their space in Shoreditch after eight years in the area.
“It was an obvious choice to take the red pants to London to show our greatest support to Czech avant-garde and to global political activism,” said gallery co-founder Yarda Krampol. He compared the pants to the infamous “Trump Baby” balloon that dominated the London protests against the US president’s UK visit.
“The pants have become a symbol — not just against the [Czech] president — but against all this kind of nonsense in politics.”