Page last updated at 15:52 GMT, Tuesday, 20 January 2009

'Bulgaria toilet' art covered up

Entropa, partly covered by a sheet
"Bulgaria" has been shrouded in a sheet

Part of a work of art that depicts Bulgaria as a toilet has been covered up, following the country's protest.

Entropa, commissioned by the Czech Republic to adorn EU headquarters in Brussels, has caused a sensation, and some embarrassment, across Europe.

The work lampoons stereotypes of the EU's 27 members, showing France on strike, Italy as a football pitch and Romania as a Dracula theme park.

The Bulgarian entry was shrouded by a black sheet on Tuesday.

A Czech government spokeswoman told BBC News that the shroud had been put in place "by the Czech side".

"We proceeded to a technical solution, which we found together in intensive talks with the Bulgarian side over a few days," Michaela Jelinkova said.

The Czech EU presidency apologised last week for any offence caused by the installation, and particularly to Bulgaria, which had lodged a formal protest.

A close-up of the Entropa installation which shows Bulgaria as a basic toilet, Brussels, Belgium, 13 January 2009
I apologise to Bulgaria and its government if it feels offended
Czech Deputy Prime Minister Alexandr Vondra

Czech Deputy Prime Minister Alexandr Vondra said the image, showing Bulgaria as a series of squat toilets, would be removed if Sofia insisted.

David Cerny, the Czech artist behind the work, also apologised, and admitted misleading officials over his intentions with the project.

The Czech Republic thought it had commissioned work from 27 European artists for the Entropa display, which was installed at the weekend to mark the start of its six-month presidency.

But it turned out the work - an eight-tonne mosaic resembling a snap-out plastic modelling kit - was entirely completed by Mr Cerny and two associates.

Mr Cerny said he had "wanted to find out if Europe is able to laugh at itself".

Ms Jelinkova said Mr Cerny had been consulted about the "technical solution".

"He said himself he was ready to find a solution in case a member state felt offended," she said.

The artwork is expected to remain on show in the lobby of the European Council building until July - for the duration of the Czech EU presidency.

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