News started running on the 13th of January (2009): the work of art commissioned for Czech Republic in order to celebrate its six months running the European Union from sculptor David Cerny is a fraude. A fraude and a bad one, might some add, possibly satisfied at having an actual reason to get rid of the controversial piece of art.
The fraude is based on the fact that the project, entitled Entropa, was supposed to have been created by 27 artists, from each country in the European Union. However, it was actually concieved by Cerny alone, who even forged the identities and references of the other 26 artists, which he later explained with being unable to fulfil deadlines and with financial limitations).
As for the scandal it arose, it has to do with the way each country is represented - as pieces of a puzzle. Some of the most basic stereotypes and touchiest prejudices are used. As such, Germany is a series of interlocking autobahns, reminiscent of a swastika; Portugal is a wood board with three steaks on top in the shape of its former colonies of Brazil, Angola, and Mozambique; Italy is a footbal field; Belgium is a box of chocolates; Sweden is on top of a Ikea-style furniture box. And so on...
Cerny is well-known for other controversial works ( including a head of Saddam Hussein inside a tank of formaldehyde). In his website he justifies the project Entropa with the need to joke at stereotypes and look at differences; he assumes (I suppose ever since he was found out?) the fraude defending his work as an artist tradition in Czech Republica of mystification and grotesque exaggeration and the creation of fake identities as a strategy in contemporary art. "We believe that Brussels is able to make an ironic self-reflection, we believe in the sense of humour of European nations and their leaders". Apparently, he was wrong...
Belgium had already asked to be taken away from the intallation. After the mistake was solved, the Czech presidency says they will "take measures".
This sculpture cost 50 000 euros. Even if Cerny returns the money, there will always be the rest. He must have had a lot of fun, at least until the sky collapsed over his head.
You can see a document with each piece of the puzzle here.
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