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chernovs choice

Published: September 21, 2011 (Issue # 1675)


The art group Voina has asked international artists to boycott the 4th Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art that opens on Friday, Sept. 23 for exhibiting a work that does not belong to the group under its name.

The work in question is the Kiss the Cops stunt, which was staged in Moscow by former Voina members Pyotr Verzilov and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and a number of volunteers earlier this year. During the stunt, female activists forced kisses on policewomen on duty in the Moscow metro.

The video documenting the stunt was uploaded onto YouTube on Feb. 28, four days after Leonid Nikolayev and Oleg Vorotnikov, who did three months in prison, were released on bail paid by British graffiti artist Banksy in St. Petersburg.

On March 1, Voina made a statement denouncing the stunt and denying any involvement with it.

Alexei Plutser, who documents every Voina stunt with photos and text descriptions in his Livejournal.com blog, said then that Verzilov and his girlfriends had been kicked out of Voina for allegedly handing in a Kiev activist to the Ukrainian police in November 2009.

(The activist, Alexander Volodarsky, spent six weeks in prison and three months in a penal colony in Ukraine before he was released on July 22.)

Plutser also noted that the Kiss the Cops stunt appeared to have been timed to coincide with the much-publicized release of Nikolayev and Vorotnikov in order to draw maximum attention from the public.

The video and photographs of the stunt are scheduled to be part of Media Impact. International Festival of Activist Art, an exhibit within the biennale.

In a statement Friday, the real Voina wrote that the activists have been deprived of the opportunity to take legal action against the Moscow curators because they are still under investigation, while Vorotnikov and his wife Natalya Kozlyonok Sokol are on a police wanted list and in hiding.

In their response to Voina posted on the Internet on Sunday, the organizers refused to withdraw the work, saying that Verzilov and Tolokonnikova claim they have the same right to the name Voina as the other members, and that the organizers have no way of influencing the names of participants.

Meanwhile, the media appears to be confused again as many preview articles for the Biennale mention Voinas award-winning Dick Captured by the KGB stunt on Liteiny Bridge in St. Petersburg in June 2010, the groups criminal charges and Banksys support.

These are in fact what Voina is best-known for, and none of this has anything to do with Verzilov and Tolokonnikova.

Meanwhile, footage of the real Voinas stunts was included last week in an official video for the protest song State Bulldozer by the Moscow band Center. The video is available on YouTube and the bands web resources.





 


ALL ABOUT TOWN

Thursday, July 24


Liliana Modiliani, a well-known Russian stylist, will talk about choosing clothes that fit during her lecture at 7 p.m. at the Pryamoy Efir art club, 13 Viborgskoe Shosse.



Friday, July 25


Discuss Russias economic and political prospects for 2014 during a Business Breakfast organized by SPIBA at 9.30 a.m. in the Bank Saint-Petersburg office at 64


Malookhtinsky Prospekt.


Start your weekend with adorable miniature pigs at the Squealing Pig festival at 7 p.m. this evening in the Karl & Friedrich restaurant, 15 Iozhnaya doroga, on Krestovsky Island.



Saturday, July 26


Hundreds of brand-new and retro cars, drag and drift shows, test drives and karting are planned for the Avtobum-2014 festival, which will take place in front of the RIO shopping center at 2 Fuchika Ulitsa.


Participants in todays SaniDay Summer competition will impress visitors with their hand-made, unusual and hilarious boats, which will race at the Igora Resort near the 54th kilometer on Priozerskoe Shosse.


Metro Family Day will include both serious lectures for adults and master-classes for children, making the event interesting for the whole family. To participate, come to Kirov Park on Yelagin Island.


Photography will be the focus of todays Photosubbota, which features lectures by famous photographers, meetings with photo schools and studio representatives, and participation in a photography competition. The event starts at noon at Petrokongress, 5 Lodeynopolskaya Ulitsa.


If you like cycling, make sure to visit the Za Velogorod Festival with its retro bike exhibition, market and live music. The second round of the Leningrad Criterium race will also take place during the event at Petrovsky Arsenal in Sestroretsk.



Sunday, July 27


Navy Day will be celebrated with a weapon and military transportation exhibition, self-defense master classes and concerts. The event starts at 1 p.m. in the 300th Anniversary Park of St. Petersburg.



Monday, July 28


Dont miss a chance to see the latest achievements in robotics during the RoboDom interactive show, exhibiting more than 150 robots. The show will be at BUM center, 22/2 Gzhatskaya Ulitsa, until Aug. 3. The entrance ticket costs 350 rubles ($10).



Tuesday, July 29


A video of a Queen concert from 1986 will be shown today at 8 p.m. in Yaschik, 50/13 Ligovsky Prospekt.



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