Wednesday, 14 Jan, 2009 Politics

Czech Art Prank Spurs Controversy in EU


In order to celebrate this year's presidency of Czech Republic in the European Union, which started on January 1, the country's officials decided to present a giant installation with member states of the EU. However, the project spurred controversy as it was somewhat "unusual."

Czech sculptor David Cerny, who worked on the project, decided to show what he really feels about each member of the European Union. He entitled his work "Entropa". Recently he apologized to Prime Minister of Czech Republic, Mirek Topolanek, and several government members because his Entropa was in fact not what he promised to be.

The sculpture was presented in Brussels, installed on the atrium of the European Council building. It represented members of EU in a shocking way, expressing familiar European cliches and prejudices. At first the Czech sculptor said that Entropa was created by artists from 26 different countries of Europe. However, recently Cerny confessed that in reality he was the one to work on the project along with of a number of collaborators from Czech Republic and a few foreigners.

The 27 countries presented in the 8-ton sculpture, included:

Romania, which was presented as a Dracula theme park;

the Netherlands, depicted as fully covered by water and the tops of minarets sticking out (presumably referring to the country's increasing religious tensions);

France with the word "Greve" (Strike!) emblazoned on it;

Germany, depicted with a series of autobahns that resemble swastika;

Poland, shown with a group of Catholic monks raising the rainbow flag of the gay community;

Italy, shown as a massive football field (suggesting that it's a country with an obsession for football).

Luxembourg, represented as a small lump of gold set for sale.

Britain was intentinally omitted in the work (symbolizing that Britain had little wish to become part of European Union). For several days the sculpture was adored by visitors, until someone started to smell a rat.

It was Bulgaria who complained first after noticing that it was represented as a Turkish lavatory. After that the Czech part began questioning the work of Cerny. The sculptor admitted that Entropa is in fact a hoax. In addition, the author of the work had to answer another question, and that is what happened to the money (about $500,000) meant for the artists.

Alexandr Vondra, the Deputy Prime Minister, yesterday stated: "David Cerny bears the full responsibility for not fulfilling his assignment and promise. In this situation we are now considering which steps to take."

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