Getting Irate So That You Don't Have To

Getting Irate So That You Don't Have To

Wednesday, 14 January 2009

Sense Czech On Europe's Sense Of Humour

I think I'm falling in love with the Czech Republic.

Firstly, at the start of the year, we got a fabulous commentary from the Czech President, Vaclav Klaus, whose country is just taking on the EU Presidency. He talked openly about the EU's “democratic deficit”, denied climate change and blamed the financial crisis on “immodest, over-confident politicians playing with the market”. That must have stung a few people.

And now we have a couple of Czech artists taking the Mickey out of every member country in a sculpture which has been built to stand inside the foyer of the EU presidency building in Brussels.

Apparently there's a tradition whereby the country which holds the Presidency constructs a decoration or sculpture which is displayed in Brussels during their tenure. Obviously these will usually be meaningless pieces of abstract art created at huge cost.

The Czech government commissioned a certain David Cerny, who said he would put forward something that was going to be the joint work of artists representing each of the 27 member countries.

Instead, he just got hold of a mate of his, and together they've created an "artistic map of Europe" called "Entropa", which lampoons every member country by tapping into its national stereotype.

.....Romania is depicted as a Dracula theme park on the back of its most famous fictional character;
.....Sweden is an IKEA-style furniture flatpack;
.....Greece is on fire, because of all the riots they've had recently;
.....Holland is flooded, and all you can see are the minarets of mosques;
.....France has a banner with the word GRĂˆVE (French for "Strike") on it, and, best of all...
.....Britain is omitted completely, on the back of our Euroscepticism !

What a truly wonderful creation. I want a scaled-down replica.

Needless to say loads of people are failing to see the funny side, not least of all (sadly) the Czech government, who are feeling a bit miffed that they've had the wool pulled over their eyes by a 41-year-old bloke who promised to make something through cross-border co-operation and has instead hacked something together in his shed. The Bulgarians have summoned the Czech ambassador to Sofia to explain why their country is depicted as a toilet. And one EU spokesman is quoted as saying 'This is very provocative for an official building and does not seem to have been properly discussed in the appropriate forum." My God, you can't commit a bigger sin than failing to have something discussed in the appropriate forum, can you ?

It would be nice to think that the EU has got the balls to keep this sculpture in place for six months, but somehow I doubt it has. As Mr Cerny said . "We knew the truth would come out, but before that we wanted to find out if Europe is able to laugh at itself." I think I know the answer to that. Expect to see "Entropa" on Ebay in a few weeks time.

Incidentally, it's interesting to see how different news outlets are reporting this -
.....the Daily Mail clearly thinks it's a hoot;
.....Radio Prague is pretty neutral, playing it with whatever the Czech equivalent of a straight bat is;
.........and needless to say the BBC spins the indignant moral outrage line for all it's worth.


Sue said...

Fabulous, although I doubt they'll leave it up there :)

Dick Puddlecote said...

It's superb isn't it? Like you say, they should sell scaled down replicas.

Mrs Smallprint said...

Best laugh I've had for ages.