Learning English - Words in the News
14 January, 2009 - Published 15:20 GMT
Controversy over Czech EU art
A work of art being installed at the European Council building in Brussels has angered EU members because of the way it pokes fun of national stereotypes. It was meant to be the work of 27 European artists - but in reality it was all made by one man. From Prague Rob Cameron has this report:
David Cerny is the enfant terrible of the Czech art world, and so when the government commissioned him to create an installation, several eyebrows were raised.
They were not raised in vain. The artwork, called Entropa, shows the EU's 27 members as snap-out plastic parts of the sort used in modelling kits. Each represents a country according to the crudest national stereotypes.
Bulgaria is shown as a Turkish toilet, Romania as Dracula's castle, and the Netherlands is underwater, with just a couple of minarets poking through the waves. But even more controversially, Denmark is made up of Lego building blocks which, from a distance, form an image of the Prophet Mohammed. And Germany is a network of moving autobahns - lit up, they resemble a crooked swastika.
Czech officials originally praised the rough sketches for the piece, saying making fun of prejudice was the most effective way of destroying it. But it's not clear if they were aware just how provocative the finished result would be.
Rob Cameron, BBC News, Prague
several eyebrows were raised
They were not raised in vain
the crudest national stereotypes
a Turkish toilet
minarets poking through the waves
To take away:
Download or print (22 K)