28-year-old Luca Lacatus and his 26-year-old girlfriend Marcella Cheresi are traditional gypsies from a village in northern Romania. They were put on display by Swedish artists, who said that the installation aimed to get Swedes to question their attitudes towards street beggars.
"As an artist I can offer a space where people can investigate why they are so tolerant towards these injustices that actually go against their own morality," according to Anders Carlsson, the artistic director of Institutet, the group behind the installation.
He was criticized by Erland Kaldaras, the leader of an organization for Malmoe's Swedish-born Roma, who questioned using real beggars in the show.
"There are plenty of organizations today, established, serious ones that work with these issues on a daily basis," Kaldaras said.
He was echoed by some visitors to the show, which opened in the capital Stockholm in January 2015.
The visitors especially expressed concern over the fact that "the poverty came so close," in a reference to the two gypsies, who were obliged to act as if they were begging during the installation.
Begging remains legal in Sweden, with about 150 Romanian gypsies trying to make a living by soliciting money outside shops and railway stations in Malmoe, the country's third largest city.