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Artist Condemned for Mocking European Union with Stereotypes

Poland

An art installation commissioned by the Czech Republic, current holders of the EU Presidency, has angered some and amused others for its satirical representations of various nations in the European Union. The artwork, which shows the various nations arranged on a blue grid and is set to "go life" (become animatronic with noises) later this week:

Sculpture_2The Daily Mail reports: "France's map is emblazoned with the word GREVE! (French for strike) in red, a reference to its frequent industrial disputes, Romania is a Dracula theme park after its most famous fictional character and Sweden is a do-it-yourself IKEA furniture flatpack. Controversially, Britain has been deliberately left off the map entirely in an apparent jibe at our euroscepticism. Bulgaria is represented as the floor of a toilet, Lithuania features five men in army uniforms urinating on Russia and Greece is on fire - a reference to the violent riots that have blighted the country in recent weeks. Austria is represented as a nuclear power station, Estonia is pictured with a hammer and sickle and Luxembourg is made of Nazi gold with a 'For Sale' sign sticking out of it. The Netherlands is depicted as a sea with minarets rising from the waves, in an apparent reference to simmering religious tensions that culminated in the murder of Dutch film director and Islam critic Theo van Gogh by a Muslim militant in 2004. Poland, one of Europe's most religious nations, has priests waving a rainbow flag - a symbol of pride for gay communities. The decision to leave Britain off the air-fix style map was taken by the British artist Khalid Asadi who sought to highlight Britain's uncertain relations with the EU by cutting it out altogether. However, his official explanation was more baffling. 'This improvement of exactness means that its individual selective sieve can cover the so-called objective sieve,' said Mr Asadi. Lorraine Mullally, director of Open Europe, said Britain was fortunate to have escaped a far more embarrassing national stereotype such as pregnant teenagers, drunken louts vomiting in the street or football hooligans."

The installation is on display outside the EU headquarters in Brussels, and was condemned by the Czech government after they learned the artist, David Cerny, had also lied about its creation:

"The work, entitled 'Entropa', was mean to be the joint work of artists representing each EU member country. However in yet another bizarre twist today, the Czech artist who had the original idea - David Cerny, famed for painting a Soviet tank pink - admitted today that he had duped the EU into thinking artists from each country had contributed. The reality was, he admitted, that all of the sculptures had been done by himself and a friend."

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Comments

  1. I think it's great.

    Posted by: Yeek | Jan 14, 2009 9:09:30 AM


  2. Well, art does imitate life! How accurate this art installation is. I especially enjoyed the depiction of the Polish priests raising the rainbow flag over homophobic Poland.

    Posted by: Jim Guinnessey | Jan 14, 2009 9:24:33 AM


  3. Surely the Iwo Jima reference is not lost on any American viewer, but is it as iconic in Europe? Would there be a resonance about victory in war with this depiction, or is it more ironic, that these are soldiers who are not fighting a war, who do not espouse the values of the flag they seek to plant and raise? It certainly raises questions...

    Posted by: A | Jan 14, 2009 9:30:04 AM


  4. All the Europeans I know think it is hilarious: the Irish are drunks, the French lazy, the Italians sexist, the British tight-arses, the Dutch rude, the German's humourless, etc., and yet we're all united in our ability to make fun of each other while working together. Well, maybe the French don't quite get it... ;-)

    Posted by: GirlyBoy | Jan 14, 2009 9:35:09 AM


  5. the structure based on model making is genius... however the individual generalizations seem flimsy and perhaps too of-the-moment for an engaging shelf-life.

    Posted by: boy ardee | Jan 14, 2009 9:49:32 AM


  6. I think it's hysterical and very biting. Love how he takes a swipe at each country with exactly the right image or slogan. However, if I lived in Europe instead of Oregon, I might feel differently. (Comedy, after all, is tragedy or pain plus distance.)

    Posted by: Dback | Jan 14, 2009 10:35:07 AM


  7. As a gay American born in Poland, I think this is great! The continued social backwardness, homophobia, and hypocritical religious zeal of my birth country is truly appalling.

    Posted by: ld | Jan 14, 2009 12:33:16 PM


  8. Europeans aren't known for introspection, so this is a first!

    Posted by: anon | Jan 14, 2009 2:36:34 PM


  9. I'm European (German) and I just love it - no hard feelings here...

    Posted by: Jean | Jan 14, 2009 3:58:36 PM


  10. Hey, LD, I cant agree with you! Sure, Poland is not the most liberal country in the world, but the things are changing fast, esp.in big cities ( I live in Wroclaw).
    However, I adore David Cerny and I think it was hilarious and a great joke. We all must get a little distance :P

    Posted by: gayguy from pl | Jan 14, 2009 5:51:20 PM


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