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Swedish royal fury over 'offensive' artwork

4 Oct 2012, 17:25

Published: 04 Oct 2012 17:25 GMT+02:00

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"I understand that the royal family felt the need to put their foot down, but I have no intention of issuing a formal apology or retracting the picture," artist Elisabeth Ohlson Wallin told The Local.

"I'm sure it's hard for them to have to revisit all the things associated with the picture, but it's a work of satire."

The image at the heart of the controversy, which appeared earlier this week in a magazine published by the Social Democratic party, is the third in a series of satirical works by Ohlson Wallin depicting powerful Swedes.

In the picture, the king is shown staring over the naked body of pop singer Camilla Henemark, together with a group of people eating pizza off her.

Several of the men sitting around Henemark also figured in “Carl XVI Gustaf - Den motvillige monarken” ('Carl XVI Gustaf - The reluctant monarch'), an unofficial tell-all biography that rocked the Swedish royal family when it was published two years ago.

In book claimed that the king and Henemark had been lovers and also included details about alleged visits to strip clubs and connections to suspected mobsters.

"There is a limit to how much anyone should have to endure. The picture is offensive, hurtful and malicious," the Marshal of the Court, Svante Lindqvist, said in a statement following the picture's publication.

The editor of Tiden, the magazine that published the image earlier this week, defended his decision to publish the image but told the TT news agency he was "prepared to take the punishment" if the move is eventually ruled illegal.

Ohlson Wallin was acutely aware of how explosive the image might be, having deliberated for more than a year before finally deciding to make the work public.

"Usually satire is done using drawings, but this is a montage of photographs which makes it more striking," she said.

"It's a really powerful image and images are hard to erase from your mind once you've seen them"

She pointed out, however, that all the images included in the work had been published previously, but in other contexts.

According to Ohlson Wallin, who stressed she's "not an ardent anti-royalist", part of what makes the image so controversial is that Sweden lacks sophisticated culture of satire.

"We don't have enough satire in Sweden. It's underdeveloped. We don't dare to speak up and stir up debate," she said.

Story continues below…

Ohlson Wallin is no stranger to controversy, having made headlines this week in Serbia with her exhibition "Ecce Homo", featuring photos portraying Jesus among homosexuals.

The exhibition, organized as part of Belgrade Pride Week, opened Wednesday under heavy security and resulted in the banning of a planned gay pride parade.

David Landes

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Your comments about this article

17:52 October 4, 2012 by Mb 65
This is not art. these so called artists they are just con men or women.
18:28 October 4, 2012 by bcterry
Good for her.

Freedom rules, even if it's in the form of a badly made C grade movie.

If she is forced to apologize, then the maker of that movie should as well.

The acting and production was atrocious.
18:38 October 4, 2012 by markusd
Maybe a bit old-fashioned but shouldn't art require some sort of talent? Cutting and pasting someone else's photos in Photoshop doesn't really take a great deal of skill. All she did was to put everything together in a way that upsets some people. That's also not a very difficult thing to do these days.
19:26 October 4, 2012 by Reason abd Realism
Occasionally great art can also be controversial, as in the case of Makode Linde's provocative and orginal cake artwork earlier this year.

But controversial art can be sometimes be controversial merely because it is basically hateful. Pizza = alleged mafia connections of the king, Henemark is a woman he alledgedly had an affair with, and it has been alleged that the Queen's father was a nazi. What previously unexplored ideas or ironies has the artist revealed, other than the fact that she reads the newspaper?

Perhaps the nazi reference is grounds for libel since there is no firm evidence to prove that her father was a nazi, and even if there was, there is no evidence that Silvia herself has ever sympathized with the nazi point of view. If the image is not deemed libelous, then the publication of it is part of the freedom of expression - the same freedom of expression that allows us to call this photo a piece of crap.

But hey, I'm not the artist. The Local has already been in contact with her, so I invite The Local to contact her again and to invite her to explain what new insights her photo supposedly sheds on the royal family.
19:32 October 4, 2012 by G Kin
This reminds me of the Ugly fat african woman whose genitals were cut in a beat to bring to light FGM.

I hope the culture minister too had a piece of pitzza off Camilla's genitals ;)
19:54 October 4, 2012 by calebian22
"Sweden lacks a sophisticated culture of satire." Understatement of the year.
23:10 October 4, 2012 by adshasta
Why can't everyone just leave our poor old king alone. He has had it so rough his whole life. Our poor king deserves better than this. So what if he hangs around with a shady crew. The poor guy has to put up with all of us working class commoners and he has to be king. I bet it must be a really tough life and if he needs a little EXTRA something now and then, well it is OK because he is the poor king.., right???
04:23 October 5, 2012 by Eric1
Long gone the days of real artist. Many of today's "artist" are vulgar, lazy, dumb unsophisticated marxist.
06:38 October 5, 2012 by RobinHood
Earlier this week, a different Ohlson Wallin artwork, a picture of a gay Jesus, resulted in the cancellation of Belgrade's gay pride parade. Oh dear!

Are you sure your provocative art brings about positive outcomes Ms Wallin? It seems to me it does society more harm than good. What use is art that brings about harm? Perhaps it's time to abandon Photoshop and get a proper job doing something beneficial, rather than something harmful.

It's certainly time to offer your apology to the vulnerable gay rights movement in Serbia. I think they have experienced quite enough of your art thank you very much.
06:56 October 5, 2012 by Kevin Harris
A picture of a German vainly trying to remove a swastika insults all Germans who entered adulthood after the war. Why did the Swedish Social Democrat party publish such a racist piece of work?

Is racism acceptable in Sweden, as long as the target is a German?
09:33 October 5, 2012 by themoron
themoron says:

The target is not a German. The target is the Royal House. The so-called artist do not understand that Queen Silvia is nor responsible for what her father was, or is she? King Carl XVI Gustav made his mistakes as everybody has done, including me.

The so-called phoenician artist claims "that Sweden lacks sophisticated culture of satire." I can say that she lacks the culture of being decent and the culture of having good taste,

class and common sense.

Mrs Ohlsson-Wallin would be great behind a garbage can. .
11:52 October 5, 2012 by johnny1939
I don't think cruel satire is an art form but what do I know. However, involving the poor Queen is disgusting. She had nothing to do w/ the alleged actions of her father that mostly involved situations before she was even born. She does a wonderful job and is a asset to the country. When it comes to the King, well, he who casts the first stone..........
17:57 October 5, 2012 by Helge Krupski
Open Information for prosecutors and police in Sweden: In Stockholm gynecologists were recorded in documents that Princess Madeleine is pregnant already half of the year (six months). This is normal - regular observation. Then they asked what happened to the fetus from the abdomen of a citizen of Sweden Madeleine Bernadotte. Her father paid them money (for silence). Carl XVI Gustaf has give pregnant daughter to officer MIA of Ukraine for did an abortion. It is a criminal offense under the law of Ukraine and the law of Sweden! For all my comments King and his daughter should sue me...when will be I in front of witnesses, lawyer and journalists to write the document (investigators and trial protocol) - I will call the name, address, rank this of the officer MIA. It made three abortions in Ukraine. I saw in Stockholm document on which the King of Sweden to pay money for these abortions...Journalists wrote the truth about her, she has won court against them, because the it organized against me Hypnotists group - to apply the technique of hypnosis "to wipe out the memory." Why in the hall court no witnesses her past life? But my memory again was restored after her arrival with hypnotists to me in 2006... I spoke to the King of Sweden about it in palace, but he ordered the hypnotist apply to me hypnotic technique, too, so I said nothing. She became pregnant in group sex in Germany (it was also that in Finland, Ukraine...). This group of her sexual partners - hypnotists with Civil Service of Ukraine in Kiev forcibly took me, and was taken to Stockholm. She been sexually active with these men starting at 12 years of age. There royal family Bernadotte were sitting at the table and said with confidence to me: "This will be your baby...she is your wife..." Her brother Prince Philip started told "Mat" Russian profanity language on my a comment. Princess Madeleine and showed her notes, in which vulgar words written dictionary of the Russian. She told her that primitive Russian language her taught her sexual partner a Catholic monk priest Mikolaj Berdnik (he is a member of the gang hypnotists from intelligence Ukraine). They are imbeciles - they did not even know that sex sexual relations between men and women not to the public (the Holy Sacrament) family Bernadotte have vulgar manners... King of Sweden Carl XVI Gustaf did unlawfully divorce my marriage (me with Princess Madeleine), under hypnosis forced to sign documents at the Royal Court. - I remember the Swedish Queen Silvia told to a hypnotist in the palace in Stockholm to get me in a room, they forced...where was and her daughter (three to one), after Swedish Queen Silvia ordered "to wipe this out of memory Mr. Krupski", and more, I remem... under hypnosis they did me hypodermic psychotropic chemicals from special services, forced them to drink, I lost power, I could no longer walk, eat and talk... They arranged a birthday party in my 25 years (1994-1995)...
12:04 October 7, 2012 by johnny1939

What a bunch of crap. Abortions are legal in Sweden as well as in United States. so why should anyone bother w/ a third world country like the Ukraine? Quit drinking so much Vodka you jackass
12:38 October 7, 2012 by Helge Krupski
They brought me to the table, gang hypnotists on service King of Sweden ate meals... The Queen and the King of Sweden and his daughter having fun, they did idiots smile... In Kiev, my Ukrainian mother asked Swedish Queen Silvia, why she did not stop it... But Queen Silvia stretched this rubber cynical smile from ear to ear... Then there were the courts in Ukraine ... The royal family had paid a bribe. - Where she has been a whole year (1995-1999), she gave up his studies, journalists were asked her family. She was in Kiev with this group of hypnotists... They are waiting for the official audio recording of interview Maddy, compare it with their video recordings of it; make an expertise. Because Maddy is cheating: "I not was in Ukraine in those years, it was not me in the video pervert sex with different men ..." - I saw documents ... the King of Sweden in the royal palace forced me humiliating procedure - a survey of Swedish doctors... They concluded (diagnosis): "He is healthy, his mind is adequate! But he can not remember your daughter..." I know (hypnotists told me) what reading my comments about Princess Madeleine and Chris O'Nill, knows about this the Royal Court and lawyers, some readers - they want me to be not healthy, they fantasize "it is not true"... Let psychology test my mental state from that melody (I like this music)... title - Music is happiness...author - by Luminous (Bright, Light,)... www. youtube. com/ watch?v=wHhmdZ5zKlU . The second point - in Kiev Princess Madeleine Bernadotte led a group of hypnotists who are in the public security service and her sexual partner, which informed in writing about it in the Royal Court of Sweden. She had sex with them and she require them to forced me... e.g. they made me sit down to her in the car, we drove from the metro station "Petrovka" in direction housing estate "Troyeshchyna" (one of her apartments in a residential area "Troyeshchyna") ... her group hypnotists on distance was impacted on me (in me became dark eyes, heart palpitations, started disorientation and etc.), I was screaming on Princess of Sweden to stop the car, I had to take her leg (which was on the brake pedal), I ran out of the car, she ran after me, hug ... came up to us this group of hypnotists ... they said to her: "You're stupid girl! to us still training necessary remotely affect the psyche... He feel us started". I was did escape again... This group worked on distance to the car Mr. Viacheslav Chornovil (en.wikipedia.org/ wiki/ Viacheslav_Chornovil) they can do the crime without a trace for forensic ... No international law "for the Protection of ecology of the soul", for control of the intelligence services of these people (psy-operators, psi-agents), there are still no retribution of their crimes, their accounting methods and the like. All citizens are absolutely defenseless against these psychotechnologies.
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