Spain's EU art installation sidesteps controversy

Tue Jan 5, 2010 1:58pm GMT
 

By Luke Baker

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Spain played it safe as it unveiled an artwork to represent its European Union presidency on Tuesday, avoiding the controversy of a year ago when the Czech Republic managed to offend most of the EU.

Spain presented a video installation by artist Daniel Canogar consisting of a looping, flowing LED screen more than 30 metres long that shows images of people walking or crawling along, each of them shot by an overhead camera.

Canogar said the work, which will hang in the atrium of the main summit building in Brussels for the next six months, represented the "profound territorial, economic and social transformations" that the EU has undergone in recent years.

"The work ... is an expression of the continual sense of movement with which Spain would like to provide the EU's cultural policy," Spain's EU presidency said at a ceremony to unveil the work on Tuesday.

The verdict of those who attended the ceremony was that the piece, called "Travesias," was at best interesting, but had at least avoided causing offence or a diplomatic incident.

Last January, the Czech Republic presented a vast, colourful mosaic that tried to poke fun at national stereotypes but instead managed to offend a good number of EU member states.

A map of France was emblazoned with the word "GREVE!" (French for strike) in red, while Romania was depicted as a Dracula theme park, Sweden as a do-it-yourself furniture flatpack and Bulgaria as the floor of a toilet.

Britain, often criticised for a lack of EU engagement, did not appear at all, while Denmark was made of Lego.   Continued...

<p>People stand under a LED screen art installation called "Travesias" by Spanish artist Daniel Canogar at the European Council building in Brussels January 5, 2010. REUTERS/Thierry Roge</p>
 
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