A controversial sculpture known as Entropa, by the famous Czech artist David Černý, has found a permanent home in Plzeň. The giant artwork was unveiled this week at the Techmania Science Museum, which acquired it for 10.2 million crowns. Some will remember that Entropa caused something of a scandal last year when it was unveiled in Brussels as part of the Czech EU presidency. It offended some for the manner in which it ridiculed national stereotypes – depicting Bulgaria, for example, as a Turkish squat toilet. Since then, the controversy has abated, but there’s no question Entropa remains a riveting work.
“We started taking the first steps towards acquiring Entropa one year ago, so it’s been a year. We were quite sure that we wanted Entropa in Plzeň but there were some questions about financing and about space, because the work is quite large. It’s roughly a 16 metre-sized work and we have still not fully completed the renovation of our museum. That’s why Entropa had to be placed in a not-yet reconstructed part of our science centre.”
What is the space like around the sculpture now, how would you describe it?
“If you can imagine 7,000 square metres of nothing surrounding it right now, that’s where Entropa is! We hope to renovate the rest of the museum in the coming years, starting in January 2011, which will of course take some time. But today you can see Entropa through the walls or through three large windows but you can not come in because where it is located now is not finished yet.”
“I’m not sure but what I can say is that Czechs especially have gotten used to it and they are used to this kind of humour. Meanwhile, we had some international reaction to the unveiling this week – from Hungary or Poland – and there was no mention of ‘controversy’. Many people have already probably forgotten about the scandal last year in Brussels. But I think it is really a very special work and it was very-well received by people in Plzeň. The reaction was very positive.”
Not having seen it for several months, it struck me that some of the individual elements now seem more playful or even cute, well-within the realm of artistic license…
“Yes, exactly. And in that respect, it’s worth mentioning that viewers at our museum will be able to see the complete work – with no part covered upwhich is what happened in Brussels. The work will be on view in the manner David Černý intended.”
“The jury will decide today: the choice is between Plzeň and Ostrava. Entropa is something you won’t find in Ostrava, so we hope and think that this artwork is very important for Plzeň and will bring the candidacy to a successful finish.”
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