Sculpture that sparked controversy in Brussels meant to be fun, says creator Černý at Prague launch

12-06-2009

The sculpture Entropa has been one of the most reported on aspects of the Czech presidency of the European Union. The artwork, which was placed in an EU building in Brussels, lampoons national stereotypes, for instance portraying Romania as a Dracula theme park and France as a country on strike. What’s more, sculptor David Černý managed to fool the then Czech government, who commissioned Entropa, into thinking it was the work of artists from various EU states, when in fact he alone was the author.

David Černý, photo: CTKDavid Černý, photo: CTK The gigantic sculpture is now on show at Prague’s Dox gallery of modern art. At its launch on Thursday evening, Černý said that while he did poke fun at aspects of Europe, he wasn’t in any sense against the EU.

“It was like in a positive way. It was supposed to be fun, something which might bring people together.”

Were you surprised by the reaction in January when everything went a bit crazy for a few days?

“Completely, yeah.”

Did you have a moment where you thought, oh my God, I’ve gone too far?

“Yes, definitely, those first couple of days were seriously exhausting and we had no clue what was going on…it looked like we would have to take it down, immediately. So, yeah.”

It was originally supposed to be up until the end of the Czech presidency in two or three weeks from now. Why did you take it down early?

“In reaction to the bringing down of the previous government, which was my previous government. Since it was brought down by the socialists [the Social Democrats] and Klaus together [critics of President Václav Klaus suggest he plotted to bring down the government], I just decided that I don’t want to have anything in common with the government is there now. They include a couple of old communists and I didn’t want to have anything to do with them.”

Will there be any members of the former government coming to the reception later?

“Alexandr Vondra [ex minister for European affairs] is coming.”

How does he feel about it now? I know he was extremely angry back in January.

“He was extremely angry and he was seriously pissed at me. I don’t wonder. But then we explained things…he was shocked for a while, of course.”

It’s up here at Dox until the beginning of January…

“We have no idea how long it will stay. We probably won’t be demounting it in January, we might keep it till spring, we’ll see.”

What happens after that? It’s so big it’s hard to imagine where it could possibly go afterwards.

“I have to find a buyer with a big enough living room.”

12-06-2009