Spiritual Battle

By Slava Tsukerman

On Thursday September 20 in Moscow center of contemporary art “Vinzavod” have opened the exhibition “Spiritual Battle” by a young artist Eugenia Maltseva.

Self portrait of Eugenia Maltseva.

The organiser of the exposition, a collector of modern religious art Viktor Bondarenko has stated that the new works of the artist are “contemporary icons“. There were speculations, that the paintings named “Icon #1”, “Icon #2” and “Icon #3” are inspired by the looks of the members of the punk rock group Pussy Riots, sentenced to two years  imprisonment for their  performance of “Punk Prayer – Mother of God, Chase Putin Away!” Here are these three paintings:

The exposition triggered a new scandal in Russia.

Secretary of Russian Orthodox Patriarchy’s Council on culture, Archimandrite Tikhon Shevkunov, called the exposition “an act of cynical terror against Russian culture”.

The head of Russian Orthodox Church synodal Department for connections between Church and society, Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin stated:

“I have not seen the exhibits I’ve seen only one image on the Internet. In my opinion, it offends Christians venerated a sacred symbol-icon of the Savior. As you know, Halo with a cross may be represented only by Its icon, while there is a young lady-her face I see. Some argue that this is one of the participants of the infamous punk b“I have not seen the exhibition.  I’ve seen only one image on the Internet. In my opinion, it offends Christians, humiliating the sacred symbol-icon of the Savior. As you know, halo with a cross may be represented only on His icon, while one sees there a young lady, her face. Some say that this is a portrait of one of the participants of the infamous punk band. If this is really the image of ‘the blasphemer’, coupled with the icons of Christ, this is anti-Christian image, and we need seriously examine the question.”

Cossacks and Orthodox activists provoked riots at the opening of the exhibition of Eugenia MaltAtAAt the opening of the exhibition of Eugenia Maltseva a crowd of Cossacks and Orthodox activists blocked the entrance to the exposition hall.

Policemen arrived soon, but removing the activists from the entrance to the Exhibition Hall, turned out a difficult task.  They had resisted and fought with police. One of the Cossacks reportedly used a whip.

Here is how a known Russian artist Dimitry Vrubel commented on the Moscow event:

“From time to time there are people who are zaâvlât: “If you have something to say, spoëte or draw against Hitler, Stalin, Mao Zedong, Duna, Putin and Patriarch Kirill, we plant you in jail or kill.” Absolutely, the fascists still call themselves — Muslims, Christians, Communists, anyone. These people are not uspokoâtsâ, not kill anyone that disagrees with their point of view. You can try to insulate ourselves from them, but usually all ends the I believe that this is an echo of what is happening in the world. It is a specific attack on freedom of speech. The question is whether we will defend the freedom of speech or not. This concerns not only Russia but also France, Germany and America. Nazi forces worldwide raised their heads. If they will not be stopped, it seems that once again there will be concentration camps, deportations, yellow stars. Eventually we have to fight.

“From time to time there are people who are stating: ‘If you have something to say, sing or draw against Hitler, Stalin, Mao Zedong, Putin or Patriarch Kirill, we’ll put you in jail or kill.’ It absolutely doesn’t matter how the Nazis call themselves — Muslims, Christians, Communists. These people are not going to stop, until they kill anyone that disagrees with their point of view. Of course one may try to insulate oneself from them, but usually all ends with war.”

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Updated: September 22, 2012 — 8:47 am
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