Contemporary Russian Artwork Not Allowed Through Customs For Exhibition in Dresden
Region: Russia and Central Asia
Subject: Political/Economic/Social Opinion
Medium: Mixed Media
Artist: Vladislav Mamychev-Monroe, Aidan Salakhova, the Blue Noses group, and Konstantin Latyshev
Confronting Bodies: Russian customs officials
Date of Action: May 23, 2007
Description of Artwork: Three of the pictures are by performance artist Vladislav Mamychev-Monroe. In the photoworks, he portrays himself as a hysterical Adolf Hitler, a plastic-bearded Osama Bin Laden and a cat-loving Pope Benedict. Another work by Aidan Salakhova portrays a burkha-clad Muslim clasping a miniature minaret with distinctly phallic connotations. Two of the other pictures by the Blue Noses group and by Konstantin Latyshev make satirical reference to the Russian president. The Blue Noses pose as Vladimir Putin, Russian cultural idol Alexander Pushkin and Christ. Latyshev's work is a poster that merges the features of the president and Pushkin.
The Incident: Six works by contemporary Russian artists that were due to appear in an exhibition opening on Wednesday May 23, 2007 in Dresden's municipal gallery were not allowed to pass through customs. Johannes Schmidt, curator of the exhibition called Learning from Moscow, said he had been informed by the company involved in the transportation of the pictures that customs officers had refused to issue export licences for the art works. The transport company had been informed that they were not being released for fear of causing international protest
Results of Incident: The Dresden museum has responded to the events by displaying small-scaled reproductions on paper of the works in the spaces where the originals were meant to hang. Schmidt said that the museum had decided not to officially protest against the action because budgetary constraints meant that they would not be able to pay for a second transport.