Ruben Östlund and Erik Hemmendorff’s company Plattform Produktion has issued an apology to Berlin-based Argentinian artist Lola Arias over the use of her name in the 2017 Cannes Palme d’Or Winner The Square.
“We understand that the use of Lola Arias’ name, which was not discussed as clearly as it should have been, created a misunderstanding connecting her work as an artist to the artwork The Square (Rutan) shown in the film,” the company said in a statement.
“After meeting the artist in Berlin and discussing the misperception caused, we would like to emphasize that The Square (Rutan) is an artwork originally created by Ruben Östlund and Kalle Boman for the city of Värnamo, Sweden in 2015. All reference to the artist Lola Arias as the creator of the artwork is fictional,” it continued.
“We would like to offer an apology to Lola Arias for the way her name was used in the fiction film The Square.”
Östlund’s satire about the contemporary art world and starring Claes Bang as a modern art museum curator hinges on the creation of an installation consisting of the illuminated outline of a square on a cobblestone courtyard.
Arias is cited as the creator of the work in film. The artist was on the set of the production for a minor role, which was cut, but had nothing to do with the installation at the heart of the feature.
To this day, her name is cited in reviews and articles on the film, with some writers even assuming she is a fictitious figure.
Arias was upset by the association and in 2017 filed a lawsuit in Berlin against Plattform Produktion, saying the production had used her name without her consent.
Her German lawyer Jakob Braeuer told state Swedish television news as the lawsuit was launched that its aim was to prohibit Plattform Productions from exploiting the film on any platform with the references to Arias intact.
For now, this does not seem to have come to pass as a copy of the film downloaded by Deadline on Monday still contains references to the artist.
Deadline has contacted Arias’s lawyer Braeuer for comment on the statement from his client’s side as well as an update on whether the case has been resolved but has yet to hear back.
Plattform Produktion said it would not be commenting further on the issue.
Östlund and Hemmendorff created Plattform in 2002 and were later joined by Axel Danielson, Mikel Cee Karlsson and Kalle Boman as partners.
Also starring Elisabeth Moss, Dominic West and Terry Notary, The Square world premiered in Competition at Cannes in 2017. It won the Palme d’Or and was then nominated for an Oscar Best Foreign Language category in 2108.
Östlund, who won a second Palme d’Or for Triangle Of Sadness, will be back at the Cannes Film Festival this year as the president of its jury.
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