I don’t do politics on this blog, but political art is allowed, and there have been some particularly good examples of creative protest and subversive art in Russia recently. So, while I’m stuck at home with pneumonia, a little round-up to pass the time, because I haven’t got the energy to do anything more taxing. It has, however, turned out to be rather more than four links…
1. Toy protests. First in Barnaul, then in Minsk, the idea of miniature protests really captures the imagination, and has taken on a distinctly kafkaesque dimension as the toys have been banned from protesting on the grounds that they are not Russian citizens. The best photo gallery is Ivan Krupchik’s Nanomeeting in Barnaul and France 24 has a couple of good videos in this report. See also The Guardian’s video of the repeat performance in Barnaul, and Charter 97’s video of the Minsk protest.
2. Pussy Riot. The anonymous feminist punk band has made quite a splash with performances in Red Square and – my favourite (blasphemy as well!) – in the church of Christ the Saviour earlier this week. Miriam Elder’s interview in The Guardian gives a good account of their rise to prominence.
3. Videos. Some brilliant satirical videos have appeared lately, from Putin behind bars, to the cat kompromat interview with ‘Boris Nemtsov’, to a new favourite I’ve just seen – this great Putin cartoon (‘Putin can do anything he wants’, the chorus goes).
4. Gruppa Voina. Voina’s scandalous artworks, most famously the giant penis painted on Liteinyi bridge next to the FSB headquarters in Petersburg, predate the current protests, but have received renewed attention in the light of recent events. Their latest activities, notably burning a police truck, have divided opinion: Anna Nemtsova in The Daily Beast sees it as a step too far, while Sarah Swong in The Globalist uses the event to discuss whether Voina’s work is art. Nick Sturdee’s article from November last year provides the best and most in-depth coverage of the group’s work.