Jan 27, 2009

Entropa -- Europe shows it's true colors on Free Speech


It is amazing -- Europe shows it's true colors when a work of art offends other Europeans. There is not a peep about freedom of speech and the artist's independence. The Czech government, first time holder of the EU presidency buckles under pressure, makes the Artist pay back the money he was paid, and pledge not to demand any payment for the six months that Entropa is on lease to the Czech Government.

Entropa, partly covered by a sheet

And Yes, it ordered the Bulgarian section of the work be covered with black cloth last Wednesday. In the process Czech Government managed to turn the event that was to celebrate Europe and it's newest members, into a commemoration of Stalinism. Just a look at the countries who demanded that the art piece be taken down, or in the case Bulgaria, she demanded (and had that demand met) that the part of the work depicting Bulgaria be covered by cloth. it seems that that the very countries who have most to celebrate for their freedom of speech, are the ones opposing it. Perhaps fascism can be eradicated from the political life of a country rather quickly, but to have it removed from people's hearts and minds is apparently more difficult.

A close-up of the part of the Entropa installation depicting Poland

In the meantime it looks as if David Černý has pulled off what he had intended -- by demonstrating the prejudices and stereotypes, he has helped bring them to light -- very nice indeed.

P.s. As a non-European can someone explain some of the jokes to me? Why is (Slovakia wrapped as a Salami in Hungary's Tri-Color) funny or offensive? Elephants and Hypos in Finland? Are there really that many gay monks in Poland?