The European Parliament has been exhibiting contemporary works of art since 1980, curated to represent “the European Parliament’s core values of promoting culture, intercultural dialogue and respect for cultural Diversity.” But the display of a particular artist who specialises in sadomasochistic depictions of children has gone too far for one minister of Parliament.
French Rassemblement National MEP Aurélia Beigneux raised the parliamentary question after a painting by controversial Swedish artist Lena Cronqvist was displayed at Parliament, despite Cronqvist’s history of disturbing portrayals of children. Cronqvist’s work, Skewed Faces, currently hangs in the Paul Henri Spaak building of Parliament in Brussels, on temporary loan, to mark the Swedish Presidency of the Council.
The European Parliament exhibits 500 works of art, including this work by Cronqvist, who specialises in paintings relating to psychosis and power relations within the family, often showing children committing sadistic acts. One of Cronqvist’s works (not featured in Parliament), Operation II, graphically shows young girls butchering miniaturised figurines.
The Commission denied that Cronqvist received funding from the EU’s Creating Europe funding programme in reply to Beigneux’s question, and affirmed its commitment to protecting children and artistic expression.
Speaking to The European Conservative, MEP Beigneux condemned the platforming of Cronqvist, saying that the artist’s “perverse obsessions are morally reprehensible and should not be displayed on the walls of the European Parliament.”
Lena Cronqvist is one of the few Swedish visual artists who enjoys a state income for her work and is a member of the Swedish Academy of Fine Arts. Cronqvist’s artwork has previously been patronised by banking giant BNP Paribas.