Bulgaria PM to Meet Controversial Czech Artist David Cerny

Domestic | October 8, 2009, Thursday // 20:00|  views

Prime Minister, Boyko Borisov (l), and the Mayor of Plovdiv, Slavcho Atanasov (r), great each other at the opening of the waste processing plant near Plovdiv. Photo by BGNES

Bulgaria's Prime Minister, Boyko Borisov, stated he was going to meet with controversial Czech artist David Cerny Sunday in Sofia.

Borisov, who spoke Thursday during the official opening of the waste processing plant in the village of Shishmantsi, near Bulgaria's second largest city of Plovdiv, said the Plovdiv Mayor, Slavcho Atanasov, had his own motifs for banning Cerny's exhibit in the city.

“I do not interfere with the work of the local mayors. I work on a national level, Borisov said, “but it is important that people know Bulgaria is a democratic country, which does not censor any expression of artists and intellectuals.”

Borisov further pointed out he believes in the right of every artist to chose his or her own ways of expression, adding the previous rule of the country did more than enough to contribute to Bulgaria's image of a squad toilet.

In the meantime, the Czech Ambassador to Sofia, Martin Klepetko, defined the reaction of the Plovdiv Mayor as “hysterical,” but voiced disapproval of Cerny's visit to Bulgaria over straining the relations between the two countries earlier in the year. Klepetko said the exhibit's organizers and Cerny never approached the Czech Embassy for assistance with the event.

On Tuesday, the Mayor of Plovdiv, Slavcho Atanasov, banned Cerny's upcoming exhibit. His decision came on the heels of a declaration of municipal councilors from the nationalist Ataka party saying it is unacceptable for the man who depicted Bulgaria as a Turkish toilet to be welcomed in the country.

Cerny's exhibit is scheduled to open in Plovdiv on October 10 as part of the project of local curator, Emil Marazchiev, titled “European Art 20 years after the Iron Curtain.”

The Czech Republic, which recently gave up the six-month presidency of the European Union, and Bulgaria are still reeling from the scandal caused by Cerny's satire of European stereotypes in an installation at the European Council building in Brussels called "Entropa".

The piece, which was mounted in January, was supposed to proudly display unique traits of each country in the union. Instead, it depicted Bulgaria as a Turkish toilet, Catholic Poland as a group of priests raising a gay flag and Germany as a network of motorways resembling a swastika.

Only Bulgaria protested against the way it has been depicted, which resulted in the toilet being draped in a black cloth, making it even more visible.

It is believed Cerny plans to put on stage at the upcoming exhibit namely this black cloth.

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Tags: David Cerny, Slavcho Atanasov, Ataka, Entropa, Brussels, European Presidency, Czech, Boyko Borisov


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