The so-called John Lennon Wall in Prague, which, since its namesake’s assassination in 1980, has been a popular destination for tourists, taggers, and street artists, was completely erased with white paint on Monday by an artist collective calling itself Prague Service.
The John Lennon Wall shortly after it was buffed by Prague Service (photo by @matushy/Instagram) (click to enlarge)
Buffing years of accumulated graffiti, the group left the wall entirely white save for the sentence “Wall Is Over!,” the AFP reported, an allusion to the subtitle of Lennon’s song “Happy Xmas (War Is Over).” The artists timed their white-washing to coincide with the 25th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution — the nonviolent uprising that led to the end of Communism in Czechoslovakia — and said they hoped that their gesture would “offer a free space for the messages of a rising generation,” according to the AFP.
It didn’t take long for others to take advantage of the free space and begin filling the Lennon Wall with tags again. However, the wall’s owner, the Order of Malta, was not so quick to dismiss the incident, and is pursuing legal action against the artists.
Though intended as an homage to Czechoslovakia’s overthrow of Communism, the collective’s wholesale buffing of the popular attraction unwittingly replicated the behavior of the former Communist authorities, who regularly painted over the subversive messages inscribed on the wall during the 1980s. Prague’s Lennon Wall recently inspired a similar mural in Hong Kong as part of the city’s ongoing pro-democracy demonstrations.