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Naked Truth / The History of Our Times Seen With the Eyes of a Philistine

Blue Noses (Viacheslav Mizin, Alexander Shaburov)

December 12, 2007 - January 20, 2008

M & J Guelman Gallery at Winzavod

The "shame of Russia" is now in Russia!

An attempt to ban the Paris exhibition "Sots-Art / Political Art in Russia" excited an international scandal, which was discussed during the recent summit talks between presidents Putin and Sarkozy. Russia's Culture Minister Alexander Sokolov publicly denounced artists Mizin and Shaburov (working together as the Blue Noses group), calling their photo "Kissing Policemen" pornographic and "a shame of Russia".

This statement has gingered up the activity some unbalanced fellow-citizens, who are trying to limit the multiform spectrum of Russian art. No sooner had Marat Guelman, the gallery-owner, won a suit in behalf of Blue Noses than two new suits were brought against Andey Yerofeyev, the curator from the State Tretyakov Gallery and organizer of the Sots-Art exhibition. At the same time the director of Tretyakov Gallery, Valentin Rodionov, filed a charge against Russia's Culture Minister in order to support Blue Noses.

What comes next?

Owing to all above-mentioned, "Kissing Policemen" became the most popular work of Russian Sots-Art. This fact provoked new scandals. Artists Komar and Melamid, who until recently had been considered the inventors of Sots-Art, also took a claim against Mizin and Shaburov. They declare: "We are the founders of Sots-Art!" and want to assert their priority in a court of law. On top of everything, the British graffiti artist Banksy fumes: "That's me who was the first to picture kissing bobbies!", intending to visit Russia and beat the matter out.

But it is little known that apart from "Kissing Policemen" more than 50 works of Blue Noses (17 items according to the official inventory) were also withdrawn from Sots-Art exhibition, which prohibition did not prevent these works from being exhibited in Berlin and Paris, Japan and Denmark. And at last the "shame of Russia" came to Russia!

What is really scandalous about it?

When Mikhail Shvydkoi, the Head of Russia's Federal Culture Agency, looked over the photos by Blue Noses and saw naked Ukrainian politics Yushchenko and Timoshenko, he just not dared to turn over the next page! There were Saddam Hussein holding Hillary Clinton in his passionate embrace, Milošević doing the same with Condoleezza Rice and Boris Berezovsky Ц with the British Queen.

At the exhibition you can see these and other things you were not unaware of but never thought to behold with your own eyes. All legends and myths of the post-Soviet era, staged just in a kitchen. The history of our times seen with the eyes of a philistine. All fetishes and scarecrows we are allured or cowed by, and facts which have been kept from us for so long. The whole truth about Russian Revolution and about the postwar re-division of the world. The mysteries of the USSR collapse and of Princess Diana's death. The clues to mysterious murders of President Kennedy and Marilyn Monroe, Litvinenko and Gongadze, as well as Putin's conversation with Mahatma Gandhi and many other things.

What's all this in aid of?

Blue Noses concern themselves with the so-called contemporary art, implying the use the 20th-century techniques (photography, video, actions, installations). In this way the artists transform the actual visuality. What is "actual visuality"? Just put on your TV and you'll see: a string of clips, endless comic shows, sex-obsessed advertisement, long-running copper serials and presidential news. Blue Noses do just the same but reduce it to absurdity... The 19th- century artists used to work en plein air but we live in quite different reality. That's why contemporary artists prefer to clip photos of terroristic acts from magazines, to dissect low-comedian Petrosyan and to study Internet folklore.

Blue Noses are the direct heirs of the Blue Blouse Ц Soviet revolutionary-acrobatic brigades of the 1920s. Mizin and Shaburov say that they've got accustomed to the idea of a poet in Russia being "more than a poet" and an artist Ц being more that an artist... If so, the art must respond to relevant topics, illustrating headlines. The morning papers news in the evening appear in a light-box, banner of video-art! This art affects everybody Ц from pioneers to pensioners. Blue Noses put a mirror in front of us, and it turned out that our head is just beer, cigarettes and Bin Laden. Let's scour our brain of rubbish!

print version 

ћатериалы по теме :

Making waves / St. Petersburg Times

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