Czech Republic Apologizes to Bulgaria over Insulting Art Piece

Politics » BULGARIA IN EU | January 15, 2009, Thursday // 00:00
Bulgaria: Czech Republic Apologizes to Bulgaria over Insulting Art Piece The Czech Presidency of the European Union officially apologized Thursday for the insult inflicted on Bulgaria by the infamous "Entropa" exhibit, depicting the country as a squad toilet, the Bulgarian information agency BGNES reported. Photo by DarikNews

The Czech Presidency of the European Union officially apologized Thursday for the insult inflicted on Bulgaria by the infamous "Entropa" exhibit, depicting the country as a squad toilet, the Bulgarian information agency BGNES reported.

"I apologize to Bulgaria and its Cabinet if they feel insulted and I believe we are ready to initiate a constructive dialogue, the Czech Prime Minister Alexandr Vondra stated before reporters at the official inauguration of the exhibit in the building of the European Parliament."

"If you still insist that we remove the piece depicting Bulgaria, we would," Vondra added addressing Bulgarian diplomats present at the ceremony.

The author of the exhibit, David Cerny has also stated that he was ready to remove the insulting pieces, and said he would return the money he has received for the creation of the display.

The Czech Republic, which holds the EU presidency, has commissioned the 16-square-meter display to mark the start of the six-month Czech presidency of the EU, but they believed it was the work of 27 European artists.

The exhibit named "Entropa" was installed during the weekend and has angered EU members with its form of a giant jigsaw map representing the "stereotypes" of each of the EU's 27.

"Entropa" portrays Bulgaria as a squad toilet, Romania as a Dracula theme-park, France is covered with the inscription "Strike!," Sweden looks like an IKEA box, the Netherlands is shown as series of minarets submerged by a flood, Germany is a network of motorways vaguely resembling a swastika, Spain is depicted entirely covered with concrete, Italy looks like a giant football stadium while the UK is absent from Europe altogether.

David Cerny has often been called the "enfant terrible" of the Czech art world and his commissioning by the Czech government to create the installation, raised quite a few eyebrows. In the early 1990s he made another stir when he painted a Soviet tank, a Second World War memorial in a Prague square, bright pink.

Cerny has presented "Entropa" to his government with a brochure describing each of the artworks of the 27 supposed contributors from each member state. The artist has already apologized for misleading Czech Ministers, but not for the installation itself.

"We knew the truth would come out. But before that we wanted to find out if Europe is able to laugh at itself," Cerny has said. "

The piece, representing Bulgaria as a toilet, has stirred controversial and angry reactions in Bulgaria. The country's permanent Representation at the European Institutions has issued an official objection to the work being displayed at the European Council building in Brussels. The Bulgarian Culture Ministry declared that they had nothing to do with the display and have not selected the artist to participate in it while the Czech ambassador to Sofia has been summoned at the Bulgarian Foreign Ministry to explain the gaffe.

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