Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Welcome! Sochi 2014 Exhibition Banned in Russia

The White Nights festival in Perm has come under pressure after four of its exhibitions have been closed, seemingly at the request of unhappy local politicians. In response, Marat Guelman, one of the festival's organisers, has accused critics of political game-playing. The cultural festival, which opened on 1 June, first encountered difficulties when Vasily Slonov’s exhibition of posters, Welcome! Sochi 2014, which satirised the forthcoming winter Olympics in Sochi, was criticised by Perm region senator Andrei Klimov for “Russophobic demonstrations” that were “not worthy of being in Perm region”. The exhibition was shut down on 4 June, and replaced with landscapes and still lives by the Israel-based collective New Barbizon, which conveyed a message of support for Slonov. The following day the New Barbizon show was also shut down, and the gallery locked and placed under guard. On 6 June a further exhibition — Sergei Kamenny’s series of protest photographs, Russian Baroque — was closed after being visited by a local minister of culture. Kamenny redrew pictures of Moscow street protests. Finally, free-format lecture and discussion project Occupy Perm was also rejected by local officials, largely, it is alleged, because of the opposition politics of its intended curator. Festival curator, Marat Guelman, who has also come under fire for the high cost of the event, has moved the prohibited works to his own PERMM gallery. “I don’t want to get involved in this war,” said Guelman. “But after the end of the festival I will meet with the governor and discuss these events with him. If there will be any more attempts at censorship in the future from the authorities, I’ll refuse to work with them.”

http://www.echo.msk.ru/blog/echomsk/1092718-echo/ (pictures)

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