European Union

"I Don't Like Fat and I Don't Like Colonialism"


The Czech government, who currently hold the rotating presidency of the European Union, selected artist David Cerny to produce an artwork symbolizing European unity and cooperation that would be displayed at the European Council's office building in Brussels. One could have expected that Cerny, who recently courted controversy with his Damien Hirst-inspired "Saddam Hussein in formaldehyde" (which was pulled from a Belgian museum when city officials worried it might "offend Muslims") and called, in a brilliant Matt Welch impression, Czech President Vaclav Klaus "a dick," would have tried to piss a few people off with a piece on national stereotypes in EU member countries. As Sarah Lyall writes in the Times, Cerny didn't disappoint, submitting a massive sculpture titled "Entropa":

But wait. Here is Bulgaria, represented as a series of crude, hole-in-the-floor toilets. Here is the Netherlands, subsumed by floods, with only a few minarets peeping out from the water. Luxembourg is depicted as a tiny lump of gold marked by a "for sale" sign, while five Lithuanian soldiers are apparently urinating on Russia.

France? On strike.


In the case of "Entropa," Mr. Cerny presented the piece as the work of 27 artists, one from each country. But it was all a huge hoax.

After being challenged by reporters this week, Mr. Cerny admitted that he and two of his friends constructed the whole thing themselves, making up the names of artists, giving some of them Web sites and writing pretentious, absurd statements to go with their supposed contributions.

The Czech government has apologized to the EU, though it has yet to remove the Entropa catalogue, including all the fake artist bios and closeup photos of each work, from its website. A particular favorite was this entry, from the fake Portuguese representative "Carla de Miranda":

I don't like fat and I don't like colonialism. Empire-building, the influence of colonisation on post-colonial history, economy, science and culture, the cultural output of colonised societies, feminism and post-colonialism, the state of post-colonialism in a contemporary economic and cultural context—all these are some of the general themes in this field. What were the experiences of the colonised and the colonisers?

Bonus quote, shorn of context, from a Cerny interview with Czech radio: "For me [the Communists] ruined the country not only economically but most problematic thing was that they ruined the country mentally. Leaders in this country, after the election of Vaclav Klaus begin to accept the communists as regular political partners. This is something that Vaclav Havel, the whole time he was at the Castle, refused. He set a definite example 'Hey guys, I don't want to speak with you. You are democratically elected, but for me you are not a democratic party. And I think it was a great statement…" Me too.

And then there is this: "And that's why I joined the activity against the Communists. It's called 'Normal People Don't Speak with Communists.'"

Update: By a matter of minutes, Reason science correspondent and art critic Ron Bailey beat me to this story. He has photos from the piece here.

NEXT: Artwork Worthy of the E.U.

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  1. Uncanny, it is like you and Ron Bailey are on the same page.

  2. I don’t like fat and I don’t like colonialism.

    This guy and his helpers are 100% my kind of prankster assholes. They must be an absolute blast to hang out with. I’m highly impressed with how huge this guy’s cogliones are.

  3. It’s like in the Renaissance, when people carved fake Davids that fooled Florence.

  4. I don’t understand much about art, but I understand trolling.

    That’s pretty freaking sweet.

    They even made up handles.

  5. the opposite of aesthetic is anesthetic.

  6. It’s a great day for art. Stanislav Szukalski would be proud.

    In other news, Wanda Jackson has finally been (semi) inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

    Now if they would only un-induct James Taylor.

  7. Fucking brilliant.

    I can understand people in the countries getting so wound up over their oxes being gored, but this whole thing, from inception to execution, is just brilliant work.

    That took balls the size of Alpha Centauri.

  8. Damn. I bet it’d be a riot to have a beer with the dudes.

  9. Now if they would only un-induct James Taylor.

    Lol @ that.

  10. I can understand people in the countries getting so wound up over their oxes being gored

    If everybody “owned” the oxes then everybody would care.

  11. What I find even more hilarious is the Czech Republic having the presidency of the EU. It’s like China elected Japan to speak for them.

  12. I have been inspired to enter the world of fine art.

  13. Man
    God bless eastern Europe!

    They are single handed compensating for the pinko streak that runs in between the UK and Poland.

    I love the idea of free movement of people and western Europe has been overrun by millions of eastern Europeans working in low income jobs. They are awesome people. I must admit I like the booze and drugs and we seem to have a common interest, every time I go out on the piss the only people who can keep up are a dem from the east.

    For anyone who likes vodka. Basically Russian and Swedish Vodka is crap. Real men drink Polish Vodka

    There’s a piece of grass in the bottle so it keeps fermenting after they bottle it

  14. A funny joke on this sculpture is that the UK and Ireland aren’t included.

  15. LoL, I hadn’t noticed that.


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