Klaus asks Czech govt to 'disavow' EU art exhibit

20th January 2009, Comments 0 comments

The president said he could accept "neither the method nor the contents" of the installation and criticised its "dubious and offensive message."

Prague -- Czech President Vaclav Klaus has asked the government in a letter to "publicly disavow" a controversial EU art exhibit displayed in Brussels that depicts stereotypes of member countries.

In the letter published by the Euro weekly on its website Monday, the president said he could accept "neither the method nor the contents" of the installation and criticised its "dubious and offensive message."

Created by Czech artist David Cerny to mark the start of the Czech EU presidency on January 1, the "Entropa" installation is a symbolic map of Europe depicting stereotypes attributed to the 27 European Union member countries.

The Czech Republic's map runs a ticker with Klaus's trademark eurosceptic statements.

"I think the government must ... publicly disavow this unfortunate affair and apologise to our partners -- the representatives of Bulgaria and its public in the first place," the staunch eurosceptic wrote in the letter.

The map portrays Bulgaria as a "Turkish" squat toilet, which has led Bulgarian authorities to ask the Czech EU presidency to cover or remove the image.

Commissioned by Prague, the sprawling work, which covers 170 square feet (16 square metres), also satirises other member states, depicting the Netherlands as flooded with water, for example, or France as "on strike."

Last week, Cerny apologised for his work to Bulgaria as well as to the Czech government, saying he had wanted to find out "whether Europe can take a laugh at itself."

"If I wanted to insult somebody, it's Vaclav Klaus. Because Klaus insults Czechs," he added.

Cerny has also come under fire for deceiving EU officials on how the installation was created, first saying it was done with participation from across the European Union.

He later admitted making it all himself with a couple of associates.

AFP/Expatica

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