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Features WEDNESDAY, 14 January 2009

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Diplomatic Scandal Due to Grand-Scale Bad Taste

Bulgaria is the toilet of Europe in a vulgar exhibition in the heart of the old continent, according to the vision of an infamous artist



Entropa stirred contradictory reactions with the violently vulgar insults and pseudo art
Photo AP
The ambassador of Czech Republic to Sofia, whose country now heads the rotating EU presidency, was asked to go to a meeting in Bulgaria's Foreign Ministry because of a scandalous piece of art representing Bulgaria as a toilet, The Standart learnt from diplomatic sources. At the meeting with Czech ambassador to Sofia Martin Klepetko Bulgaria expressed its position on the issue and asked the image to be removed from the exhibition. The reason for Bulgaria's action is the Entropa Art Installation in Brussels, organized by the Czech presidency. Bulgarian artist Elena Djelebova represented her country as a Turkish squad toilet - a reference to the Ottoman domination. Betina Joteva, spokesperson at Bulgaria's permanent representation in Brussels has already expressed a verbal protest against the piece of art. The day before yesterday she stated before her colleagues of EU member states that the "ridiculous piece of art offends the national dignity of the Bulgarians and shows a really bad taste" and insisted on its immediate removing from the exhibition.
The reply was that the composition comprises pieces of various artists from different EU member states.
It has been financed by an anonymous Czech businessman. The organization of the exhibition was appointed to Czech artist David Czerny and no Bulgarian state institution or private organization had been approached or familiar with the project.
The Standart's yesterday attempts to get into contact with Czerny were fruitless. Jan Vytopil, in charge of the cultural events during the Czech EU Presidency, declined all of the Standart's questions under the excuse that there would be a press conference the other day when the exhibition would officially open. The exhibition shows the maps of the EU members states drawing on characteristic features, stereotypes or prejudices typical for the country. It turned out Bulgaria was not the only one disappointed with the authors' ideas.
The Czech EU Presidency commissioned the artists without levying any censure or limitations. Djelebova herself says that for her "this project is meant to get even with the false patriotism, to seek comfort in the decay of the Bulgarian material and spiritual life." The artist herself proved to be a rather enigmatic person, totally unknown to anybody in Bulgaria. Entropa's presentation leaflet reads that she had had an exhibition in one of Sofia's most prestigious art galleries - that of the Union of the Bulgarian Artist on 6 Shipka Street but surprisingly no one there has ever heard of her. Djelebova has never participated in a big forum for Bulgarian contemporary art. It is not clear whether she lives in Bulgaria or abroad and whether this name is real. Questions cropped up about the identity of other artists participating in the exhibition.

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