Art piece ‘Stairway to Heaven’ displays a crouching Muslim, topped by Christian, topped by praying Jew.

A controversial art piece on exhibition at the Madrid art fair, was condemned by the Israeli Embassy in Madrid as being “offensive to Judaism,” Channel 2 news reported on Thursday.

“The hurtful message this piece conveys doesn’t hurt less because it is displayed under the veil of art,” the Israeli embassy wrote in a letter to the organizers of ARCO art fair, one of the world’s top contemporary art fairs.

The installation “Stairway to Heaven,” by Spanish artist Eugenio Merino, displays a crouching Muslim, topped by a kneeling Christian, and he in turn is topped by a Jew in prayer. Next to the sculpture was displayed a machine gun with a Menorah shooting out of its barrel.

Merino denied that the sculpture was provocative, and said it reflected “the idea of coexistence between the three religions, all of which are trying to reach God.”

The work, which used human hair and silicone to give it a real look, was sold immediately to a European art collector for 50,000 Euros.

The Spanish paper the daily El Mundo described the fair as the most controversial ARCO so far, after gallery owners accused the fair company IFEMA of trying to influence the choice of participants.

Critics also slammed the fair as too big and overpriced, complaining that it had lost importance and come under political influences. The fair is set to run until February 21.



  1. I think when the artist says that he was trying to reflect the idea of coexistence of the three religions then he is either lying or a bad artist. If this is what he is really trying to portray then the three religions should have been side by side. This was meant to be provocative because it can be interpreted many many ways; both bad and good. I look at it and think it portrays that Islam is the solid, steady and more pious religion and the others are weaker, more arrogant and can be easily toppled. But the one factor that gives this a negative connotation to all is that in any culture.. when one man stands upon another it represents subjugation or the suggestion that one is better than another. I don’t know what the real political statement is meant to be.. I came up with about seven possible meanings myself but I think it was a poor idea because it does not have a cohesive look to it at a time in the world when we need religious cohesion and cooperation. In fact I think it serves more to alienate religions from each other. They should have been represented side by side if they were really meant to symbolize coexistence.