Danish art pranksters mock Spain’s royal family

Surrend’s posters don’t show the royal couple having sex. But they say they do

Surrend's posters plastered around Barcelona describe "Things we are not allowed to draw"

COPNHAGEN. The provocative Danish artist group Surrend have placed posters around Barcelona that mock Spain’s censorship laws as applied to the Spanish royal family. The posters depict several drawings that have been made unrecognisable by being painted over. A slogan at the top of each poster says: “Things we are not allowed to draw”. Next to each obliterated image is a sentence such as “The Royal Family having a lunch nap” and “The Royal Family having sex”.

Around 1,000 of the posters have been put up in Barcelona, according to Surrend founder Jan Egesborg. “We are criticising Spanish censorship,” he told The Art Newspaper. In 2007 distribution of an issue of the Spanish satirical magazine El Jueves was halted after it depicted members of the Royal family having sex. “As we did not depict the Royals undertaking the described actions our poster did not breach the law and we were not contacted by the authorities,” Egesborg said. “As in Catalonia and Barcelona, the wish for independence from the monarchy is widespread [so] the posters fell on fertile ground,” he added.

In Denmark Surrend have displayed posters showing the decapitated Danish royal couple beside a guillotine. “That was never a legal problem. But outside Denmark, Spain was the monarchist country showing most interest in our work—probably because similar [actions] could never be realised there,” Egesborg said. Surrend is known for creating posters and advertisements under false identities. In the name of a group called “Danes for World Peace”, they booked an advertisement in the Tehran Times that featured a portrait of Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The first letters of each line of the text spelled out the word “swine”.

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