Plovdiv Officials Unwavering in Scorning Cerny in His Absence

Domestic | October 12, 2009, Monday // 11:04|  views

The artwork "Trabant" by Czech sculptor David Cerny (front), showing the famous East German car from the era of socialism. Photo by BGNES

The Plovdiv Mayor, Slavcho Atanasov, sent policemen over the weekend to guard the building where controversial Czech artist, David Cerny, was scheduled to exhibit on October 10.

The Mayor of Bulgaria's second largest city stood firm by his ban of Cerny despite the artist's announcement he canceled travel plans to Bulgaria.

Cerny, who depicted Bulgaria as a Turkish toilet at an installation in Brussels called "Entropa", has told the organizers of the event he does not feel welcomed in Bulgaria.

Atanasov was supported by his Deputy, Petiya Gogova, who showed up at the exhibit and gave another Czech artist there a roll of toilet paper to take to Cerny as a gift from Plovdiv.

“I feel humiliated, Cerny is humiliated as well. Of course, I will not give him this gift; I will throw it in the toilet where it belongs,” the Czech artist is quoted as saying.

David Cerny was invited to Bulgaria by local curator, Emil Mirazchiev, to take part in the exhibit “European art 20 years after the Iron Curtain” in “Baniya Starinna” in Plovdiv.

Slavcho Atanasov, Mayor of Plovdiv, however banned Cerny's upcoming exhibit on the heels of protests by municipal councilors from the nationalist Ataka party.

In the aftermath, Cerny also turned down the invitation for a meeting by Bulgaria's Prime Minister Boyko Borisov, who defended the artist, saying Bulgaria is a democratic country and “does not censor any expression of artists and intellectuals.”

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 eight-ton mosaic of the bloc's 27 nations called "Entropa" last January.

The piece, which was installed at the European Council building in Brussels, 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 eerily resembling a swastika.

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

It is believed that Cerny planned 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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