Thursday, January 15, 2009

What is really sacred at the EU?

My regular computer's hard drive is broken and I am blogging on an old machine that doesn't seem to want to let me post photos. Anyway, I am about to invite you to have a look at a photo, by linking to it. BUT don't immediately read the caption below the photo. First, see if you can see what the artist is representing. Here it is

The Czechs have a distinctive and loveable sense of humour. This artwork, it seems to me, raises a question: how to show Europeans that the EU cannot be a cultural project of any great significance, and thus likely not much of a political project? Answer: make fun of their national identities and watch the EU members take the insult to heart (see article).

It seems to me, if you look at the whole slide show at the above link, and read the accompanying article, that it probably was the artist's intent to emblazon Germany in a sign evocative of a swastika.

HT: Belmont Club


Charles Henry said...

Those are good for a few chuckles, I guess. I confess I got an especially big laugh out of the art piece for France.

However for me they are definitely a guilty pleasure, because I can't help sharing some of the sense of outrage of the EUrocrats.

This artist deliberately lied in order to get his hands on the money being offered, misrepresenting both himself and his intentions, and purposefully deceived others in order to get his work displayed in such a prestigious (if you'll pardon the expression) setting:

["The Czech government commissioned the work in the belief that it would be completed by artists from the 27 EU member-states. That, at least, is what Czech artist David Cerny promised in his project application. Instead, Cerny made up the names of the European artists supposedly participating in the project and put it together with a couple of friends."]

And rather than say anything about the Czechs' sense of humor, I think it shows yet another example of the self-involved self-centeredness of too many artists today, who don't think of art as a conservation but as a monologue. The old rule of the theater was always to "think of your audience". This guy can't even summon the self-discipline, the self-sacrifice, to think of his patron, let alone his audience; it's all about "me, me, me".

"It wasn't about insulting anyone. I am shocked that certain states don't have a sense of humor."

Not about insulting anyone?? If that's an honest statement, how out-of-touch, how unobservant of human nature can this sculptor be! These pieces are nothing BUT insults; how can any European who likes their home not be insulted? Only the Italy piece seems to live up to the creator's justification of elbow-in-the-ribs good-nature kidding. I see an artist here whose sense of perception is so dulled that he can't visualize anything beyond himself, can't imagine anyone else's experiences beyond his own. Not a good trait in an artist, if he purports to act as a mirror for the world around him, or a window into it.

I don't see this as a gesture of ridicule for the EU, I think this sculpture is just another example of Europe's moral decline in general, the latest revelation of the wide-spread ingratitude held by those who, metaphorically, sculpt the current European culture. If this sculpture is symbolic of anything, it is of summarizing the grotesque ingratitude the elite possess for their cultural heritage. What a spoiled brat this artist is.

This sculptor's behavior is the equivalent of being invited to a party at an embassy and showing up naked except for a jockstrap over his head. So much for appreciating the priviledge of having been invited... so much for having a "sense of occasion".

Sorry for being a party-pooper, and I can't believe I'm saying this, but bottom line: for once I agree with the EU bureaucrats.

truepeers said...

Well, I didn't give any thought to what kind of a person the artist is.

But if you laugh at the work, why must it be a "guilty pleasure"? Can the work not stand apart from and transcend the human folly involved in its creation?

Would the laughs not suggest there is some redeeming quality to the artist?

I agree that he is lieing when he says he did not mean to be insulting. What he is really saying is that he kind of hoped people would laugh at themselves but he knew they probably wouldn't and that is what he wanted to show them.

I suppose if people are subject to the evil of the EU they should oppose it. Often this might mean having nothing to do with it, not taking its money. However, they are taxing you and so you might feel you have some right to take money back while trying to subvert the system. Real reistance to an unacceptable regime will involve some pretty horrendous ethical dilemmas. Consider what those who opposed the Nazis did to other people at times in order to advance their agendas.

So can we judge the artist without knowing more about his moral/ethical calculus?