Does 'Entropa' show bad taste?

16th January 2009, Comments 0 comments

The verdict is still out but is has attracted attention and created sensation.

The Czech artist David Cerny uses stereotypes to depict the EU member states in a work of art commissioned by the Czech government to mark the Republic's EU presidency. Is it a joke? A satire? A hoax? The verdict is still out but is has attracted attention and created sensation. The artist and deputy premier have apologised.

Czech artist David Cerny was asked by the Czech government to create a work of art to display during the six months that the Czech Republic holds the rotating EU presidency (1 January to 30 June).

The 9-tonne puzzle measuring 25 x 25 metres is a kind of puzzle formed by geographical shapes of EU member states. It was meant to be a mosaic of work by 27 artists - one from each EU member state. Upon scrutiny by the Czech media, it came to light that Cerny had made up the names and that he in fact made the mosaic with a couple of friends.

The 'piece of art' is being described as a shockingly satirical look at the 27 nations of the EU. The artist himself admitted his fraud and said that whole thing was just 'tongue-in-cheek stuff'. He is quoted in Reuters as saying, "We knew the truth would come out. But before that we wanted to find out if Europe is able to laugh at itself."

It is not clear what the Czech authorities now plan to do.

Entropa by David Cerny dominates the lobby of the EU's Justus Lipsius Building - the building where EU summits are held.

The installation depicts France on strike, Sweden as a box of prefab furniture, Italy as a football masturbating country, Romania as a Dracula theme-park, and the Netherlands as a flooded country where only the tops of minarets of mosques are sticking out (seeming to refer to the religious tensions there). Bulgaria has lodged an official protest: the country is portrayed as a squat toilet.

Belgium is depicted as a box of praline chocolates. Britain, perceived as being an extremely eurosceptic country is missing altogether.

The Czech deputy premier, Alexandr Vondra, has apologised to Bulgaria in particular but also to anyone else who is offended by Entropa.  He said that parts of the entirety could be removed if necessary.  The artist concurs that he will remove any part of the exhibit that offends any nation's pride.

Bulgaria has condemned the portrayal of its country as bad taste and demanded its image be removed.


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