Hermitage exhibition under fire
ST. PETERSBURG - Agence France-PresseRussia’s renowned Hermitage museum warned of a return to Soviet-era repression of artists after local prosecutors said they were checking one of its exhibits for extremism.
The Saint Petersburg museum came under fire last week for hosting an exhibition by Britain’s Jake and Dinos Chapman, visual artists known for their epic installations of little figurines in violent scenes.
The city’s prosecutor’s office said it was checking for “possible violations” by the organizers of their Hermitage show “End of Fun” after “numerous complaints from citizens.” “According to the complaints, the said show insults the feelings of Orthodox believers... and is directed at inciting hatred,” the prosecutors said on their official website, referring to the criminal offence described in Russia’s so-called “extremism” law. The exhibit runs until January 13.
It is a three-dimensional “landscape of hell in which the figures ceaselessly kill one another with diabolical cruelty,” arranged in glass cases, according to the exhibit description. Some of the scenes show crucifixion. The show’s genre is meant to hark back to artists like Francisco Goya and Hieronimus Bosch and “cure society of that cruelty.