Utne Blogs > Arts and Culture

Ironic Sculpture Scandalizes European Union

by Rachel Levitt


Tags: Arts, visual art, sculpture, European Union, David Cerny, Czech Republic,

EntropaThe Czech Republic, in celebration of its new appointment as temporary head of the European Union, commissioned Czech artist David Cerny to spearhead a sculpture to commemorate the distinction. His assignment was to create a sculpture mosaic in collaboration with an artist from each country in the EU (27 in all).

However, he soon figured that such a project could not be completed on time and under budget. So he and his team, without telling the government agency that donated the funds, “decided to create fictitious artists who would represent various European national and artistic stereotypes."

The result is Entropa, a mosaic of giant snap-together plastic parts, with each piece depicting the stereotypes of a particular country. Romania, for example, is shown to be a Dracula-themed amusement park, while France is draped with a banner reading “On Strike!"

Needless to say, the uproar has been considerable. Czech Deputy Prime Minister for European Affairs Alexandr Vondra has since apologized for the incident, but Cerny remains adamant that Europe simply needs to lighten up. According to the artist, the aim was to raise the question “What do we really know about Europe? We have information about some states, we only know various tourist clichés about others. We know basically nothing about several of them. … We do not want to insult anybody, just point at the difficulty of communication without having the ability of being ironic.”

In the end, Cerny agreed to return the Czech government’s ₤300,000 grant for the project, but there’s little chance the sculpture will actually be removed from its display at the EU Council in Brussels

View more pictures of the work and read the official brochure, complete with the fake artists’ explanations.

(Thanks, BoingBoing.)

Image courtesy of centralasian, licensed under Creative Commons.