Česká centra, Czech Centres

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19 May 2009 00:00 - 00:00

David Cerny: Faking It for the Nation

The rotating Presidency of the Council of the European Union offers the incumbent nation a platform from which to leverage its political, economic and cultural presence in the European Union. When the Czech Republic took over that office in January 2009 (notably as only the second Eastern European country to do so), Europe was given the chance to witness Czech art and artists on the transnational scene: the installation Entropa, produced by the Czech artist David ?erný to commemorate the event, reached newspapers headlines all over Europe. The installation, which had supposedly been produced by 27 artists representing the 27 European countries, was, in fact, the work of a single artist. The work itself bravely addressed complex issues of European integration and cultural identity.

The hoax that unwrapped itself so elegantly before hundreds of millions of spectators originated from a part of Europe where such hoaxes have a long and culturally embedded history; quite often they have played a significant role in a nation's development. The theme of non-existent authors and non-existent works were often seen to be the result of a type of humour that suggests that Czechs have an unusually prominent ability to laugh at themselves. As such, could the invention, the fabrication, of past and/or present cultural landmarks be assumed to constitute a facet of Czech cultural identity itself? In other words, could national identity be constituted by the acknowledged fact that it is based on falsification? And, if so, could this in fact constitute a more honest view of national identity? Such questions will be explored, followed by a presentation by David Cerný, who will speak about his installation Entropa, and his wider practice.

Part of TrAIN Open Series


Admission free, seating is limited

Email your bookings to e.broer@chelsea.arts.ac.uk

For more information click here 



David Cerny

David Cerny is a Czech sculptor, born in Prague in 1967. After studying at the Academy of Applied Arts in Prague (1988-94) he moved to New York, as artist in residence at the PS1 gallery (1994-95) and to do the Whitney Independent Study Programme (1995-96).

Cerny’s work is often controversial and humorous, like his image of Saddam Hussain in a tank of formaldehyde titled ‘Shark’ of 2005, parodying Damien Hirst’s famous ‘The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living’. Or more recently, his ‘Entropa’ artwork created to celebrate the presidency of the Czech
Republic of the European Union in the first half of 2009.



The event is a part of the TrAIN Open series, a forum for invited speakers to present exhibition, publication, and research projects in the form of lectures, discussions and screenings.


Press release


30 Kensington Palace Gardens
W8 4QY London
United Kingdom


19 May 2009 00:00 - 00:00


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