Sculpture of European Stereotypes: Get angry or just laugh?

A Czech artist, David Cerny, was supposed to lead a project to create a sculpture to represent all 27 member states of the EU, working with an artist from each country.  Instead, he worked with two of his friends to produce a sculpture that shows a (usually insulting) stereotype of each country, because he wanted to see if Europe could laugh at itself. Or because he’s a jerk, I can’t decide.

France is depicted as just an outline of a country with a banner saying Grève (strike) written on it. Oh, how utterly clever and original.

Spain is a bunch of concrete, Italy is a soccer field, Germany is full of highways, Denmark is a bunch of legos that look like the infamous Muhammad cartoon, Luxembourg is for sale, the Netherlands is flooded and full of minarets, Belgium is a box of chocolates, Sweden is an IKEA cardboard box, Romania is a Dracula theme park, Bulgaria is full of Turkish toilets, and Poland has Catholic priests raising a gay pride flag. The UK is missing from the sculpture, supposedly because they’re too eurosceptic – but look who’s talking Czech Republic!

Spiegel has a photo gallery if you want to see more of the stereotypes. It doesn’t include all of the countries though, and now I’m intrigued as to what they look like… And I wonder how Cerny depicted his own country?

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  • http://pettypieces.blogspot.com/ Bitter Chocolate

    They’re stereotypes, of course they won’t be earth-shatteringly original, they are MEANT to actually ring a bell. And the Czech Republic is portrayed as an outline of the country with a moving text consisting of Vaclav Klaus’s statements about European Union and about global warming. I’m not a fan of the Czech presidency (although I’m Czech myself) and think it will only end up in being excruciatingly embarrassing, neither do I approve of the fact that Cerny decided to make the entire sculpture on his own and go against what he was comissioned to do, however I do think the sculpture is actually funny and I am quite stunned by the people who are unable to laugh at it or leave the tint of bitterness behind when they’re commenting on it. In the end, it’s just a statue.

  • http://pettypieces.blogspot.com/ Bitter Chocolate

    They’re stereotypes, of course they won’t be earth-shatteringly original, they are MEANT to actually ring a bell. And the Czech Republic is portrayed as an outline of the country with a moving text consisting of Vaclav Klaus’s statements about European Union and about global warming. I’m not a fan of the Czech presidency (although I’m Czech myself) and think it will only end up in being excruciatingly embarrassing, neither do I approve of the fact that Cerny decided to make the entire sculpture on his own and go against what he was comissioned to do, however I do think the sculpture is actually funny and I am quite stunned by the people who are unable to laugh at it or leave the tint of bitterness behind when they’re commenting on it. In the end, it’s just a statue.

  • http://www.soyezlabienvenuechezmoi.blogspot.com/ Dedene

    Cerny’s caught the essentials of France. Just found out yesterday, that Orléans is having a massive garbage strike. I thought that only happened in Paris and Marseilles.

    Dedenes last blog post..Anti-depression remedy

  • http://www.soyezlabienvenuechezmoi.blogspot.com Dedene

    Cerny’s caught the essentials of France. Just found out yesterday, that Orléans is having a massive garbage strike. I thought that only happened in Paris and Marseilles.

    Dedenes last blog post..Anti-depression remedy

  • Matthew

    I think this art work is a satirical look at Europe and the EU; you shouldn’t take it too seriously. When someone told me about it and told me that the UK is not there I found it hilarious and quite poignant.

    I agree with ‘Bitter Chocolate’ – it’s a joke (albeit political) and it should be interpreted as such.

  • Matthew

    I think this art work is a satirical look at Europe and the EU; you shouldn’t take it too seriously. When someone told me about it and told me that the UK is not there I found it hilarious and quite poignant.

    I agree with ‘Bitter Chocolate’ – it’s a joke (albeit political) and it should be interpreted as such.

  • Amanda

    If you look at Cerny’s other work, it’s all satirical and smartassy, or just plain bizarre. He first became known for painting a tank that was supposed to be a war memorial pink while the Czech Republic was still part of the Soviet Union. There’s a big statue of King Wenceslas on a horse in Prague, and Cerny made a paradoy of it – the horse, dead, is hanging upside-down by its feet while Wenceslas sits on his chest. So if Europe is insulted, it’s probably their own fault, because there’s nothing in any of Cerny’s past work to make them think he would take it seriously.

  • Amanda

    If you look at Cerny’s other work, it’s all satirical and smartassy, or just plain bizarre. He first became known for painting a tank that was supposed to be a war memorial pink while the Czech Republic was still part of the Soviet Union. There’s a big statue of King Wenceslas on a horse in Prague, and Cerny made a paradoy of it – the horse, dead, is hanging upside-down by its feet while Wenceslas sits on his chest. So if Europe is insulted, it’s probably their own fault, because there’s nothing in any of Cerny’s past work to make them think he would take it seriously.

  • http://www.mgridley.co.uk/ Matthew Ridley

    I think this is brilliant and have a picture of it as my screensaver. What a pity we aren’t completely absent from the EU in reality!

  • http://www.mgridley.co.uk Matthew Ridley

    I think this is brilliant and have a picture of it as my screensaver. What a pity we aren’t completely absent from the EU in reality!

Why is Jennie no longer in France?

I created this blog in September 2006 when I moved to France from Michigan to teach English. Many of the earlier posts are about my personal life in France, dealing with culture shock, traveling in Europe and becoming fluent in French. In July 2011, I relocated to Australia to start my PhD in Applied Linguistics. Although I am no longer living in France, my research is on foreign language pedagogy and I teach French at a university so these themes appear most often on the blog. I also continue to post about traveling and being an American abroad.

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