Andrei Yerofeyev (1956- ) (left) and Yuri Samodurov (1951- ) (right), the defendants in the “Forbidden Art” case… they’re the darlings of both the “progressives” (Radical Left) and the “neocons” (Radical Right)… note well that SVS supports them so it can “fit in” with secular academe… do think on that.
One of the curators involved in the “Forbidden Art 2006” case, Andrei Yerofeyev, who was fined by the court only yesterday, was already planning to organise a new exhibition covering cartoons. “This year, I want to hold an exhibition of contemporary Russian caricature”, Yerofeyev said at Interfax on Tuesday. In his view, today, “The art of caricature is simply dying in front of our eyes, but it’s a very important genre, for it helps one to maintain a proper attitude towards oneself with its ironic tone and parody”. Asked whether he would be careful about his selection of the exhibits for his new show, to avoid a repetition of the “Forbidden Art” affair, Yerofeyev said, “I’m not holding an exhibition to offend anyone or to make a special impression on anyone. I simply note that there are important things in the art world. In this case, there was a problem of censorship, I said there was, and, as you can see, it turned out to be serious. Therefore, I most certainly had no intention of deliberately provoking the bourgeoisie or the proletariat”. He thought that any concessions to his opponents and to compromise with them would only reinforce their positions. “This trial showed the ephemeral nature of these right-wing extremists. After all, they don’t get it at all, they’re only kids and dogs… all they could do was sting. This far-right response to art has been amongst us for a long time. This kind of thing not only sticks to me like a thistle now, but I’ve dealt with it throughout my artistic and public life. If I had contacts, like some gallery directors who organise exhibitions that are no less daring, I wouldn’t have found myself in the dock… freedom is the prerogative of people with connections”, Yerofeyev said.
The barristers representing the interests of the defendants in the “Forbidden Art 2006” case appealed their sentence, imposed on Monday, to pay a fine. “We filed a summary complaint to demand the overturning if the sentence and the nullification of the criminal proceedings”, Anna Stavitskaya, one of the defence attorneys, told us at Interfax. “Until the appeals court, in this case, the Moscow City Court, hears our arguments, we want the sentence to be held in abeyance. I still have to complete work on the full brief after receiving the verdict. When you file a brief, you can’t afford to miss deadlines”, Ms Stavitskaya said.
Archdeacon Andrei Kuraev, a famous Orthodox missionary, thought that the defendants in the “Forbidden Art” case should have their rights to hold further exhibitions suspended for the time being. “As far as I’m concerned, the best decision would be that the defendants should have a temporary interdict on engaging in exhibition activities throughout the Russian Federation imposed upon them”, Fr Andrei said in an interview published on Tuesday, in Российская газета (The Russian Newspaper). In his view, “If experience shows that [Samodurov and Yerofeyev] are willing to commit blasphemy, it would be useful for them to shut up for a while; they should try to find another field of endeavour to use their talents in”. Fr Andrei admitted that he “really hoped that everything would be settled without cells and prison terms. It would only make martyrs for the blasphemers. More importantly, the court made a moral judgement and said ‘thou shalt not’”, he said. He went on to say, using the courts is “a very good way to find a civilised resolution for such conflicts, because, [unlike other means], it allows you to [talk reasonably], not sling paint [at one another]. After all, if we were to use ‘other methods’ against artists and organisers, it wouldn’t protect galleries [from vandals], and the faces of artists and organisers [from blows]”, Fr Andrei believed.
Vladimir Legoida, the head of the MP Synodal Information Department, expressed the hope that there would be no more repetitions of provocative exhibitions like “Forbidden Art 2006” in Russia. “I very much hope that future generations are brought up differently, so that their artistic taste and their understanding of the inner world of others would be at such a level that similar exhibitions would be impossible”, he said Tuesday to our Interfax-Religion correspondent. He expressed surprise at the remarks from some museum curators in support of the “Forbidden Art” organisers, including the statement of Irina Lebedeva, the Director General of the State Tretyakov Gallery, that the subject of the disputes around the ‘Forbidden Art’ exhibition would be incomprehensible to future generations. “Often, people see things in paintings that the artist did not intend. Time also makes its own adjustments, and the next generation will not understand what we are arguing about now”, Ms Lebedeva said recently to Interfax. “The fact that a work insults and upsets the feelings of believers is not something associated with a specific time; it is associated with a sense of the sacred, which is not determined by a mere cultural and historical setting, rather, the substance of religious faith [determines it]”, Mr Legoida said. He expressed the hope that the next generation, “would simply not have to deal with such exhibitions, otherwise, our future would be very ill-omened”.
Mr Legoida readily supported the principle of artistic freedom, but he added a caveat, “Forbidden Art 2006” was not art. “There was no artistic creative exploration here; it was deliberate provocation and impudence. I understand that modern art is largely an artistic search; I also understand very well that a brilliant artistic work may seem to induce provocation in society. However, the works under discussion cannot stand up to objective criticism even from an artistic point of view. I hope that future generations will simply forget about them”, Mr Legoida said. In speaking of the past trial, he cited the example of a recent exhibition of contemporary art, “Valaam/Dialogue”, in the chapel of Moscow State University, contrasting its exhibits to those of the “Forbidden Art” show, saying that the “Valaam” exhibits reflected the creative search, whilst the “Forbidden Art” show did not.
Mr Legoida called to mind how Sancho Panza in Cervantes’ Don Quixote explained the difference between an insult and resentment, “An insult occurs when a man does it intentionally, with the desire to hurt another, whilst resentment may be applied by accident, just by giving a refusal. There is no doubt that ‘Forbidden Art’ was well planned-out beforehand”, he said. He also expressed surprise at the accusations slung at the Church by the defenders of Samodurov and Yerofeyev, both after the procurator’s request for a prison sentence for the defendants, and after the announcement of the final verdict. “The courts, not the Church, rule in the legal field. Justice is a state function. I support, wholeheartedly, my colleagues who, even before the court verdict, that it wasn’t worth it to impose a prison term on [Samodurov and Yerofeyev]. After all, lets’ not put a halo of martyrdom around these men and their art. In any case, we aren’t dealing with unrecognised and misunderstood artistic geniuses, but only with people who intentionally try to push the buttons of believers”, Mr Legoida concluded.
Yuri Samodurov, one of the defendants in the “Forbidden Art” case, admitted his intellectual impotence vis-à-vis the criticisms levelled by Orthodox circles. “This phase of the social struggle is over… apparently, the Orthodox Church won it. To me, Chaplin (Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin, head of MP Synodal Division for Church and Public Relations) appears to have won an intellectual victory. His article was much stronger than the appeals with many signatures [supporting me]”, according to a letter of Samodurov, sent by his barrister, Vadim Belotserkovsky, to Interfax-Religion on Wednesday. Evidently, Samodurov is referring to a letter disseminated in early June, an open letter to the Patriarchal Council on the Arts, and published in early July, and an article by Fr Vsevolod in the newspaper NG-Religii. Both texts dealt with the topic of the court case against the organisers of the “Forbidden Art” exhibition. Samodurov expressed the view, “Our state will develop along the path suggested by Chaplin, things will become ever more hypocritical and unpleasant, and the Orthodox Church will become ever more monstrous. I don’t know how we can prove that, though. I’ll have to think about it”.
According to Samodurov, in his address, he said, “The ‘Forbidden Art’ trial was a struggle. The secular state handed over primary political functions to the Orthodox Church, legitimating the sharing of power between the state and the Orthodox Church. This is to pursue an effective and successful policy of forcing Russian society and Russians as a nation to identify as ‘Orthodox’ and basing [the state] on the ideology of ‘Orthodoxy’. In recent years, the Orthodox Church has successfully convinced people that the Church ‘should be everywhere’”. Samodurov went on to say, “The activities of the Russian church violate the Constitution and severely hinder the development of a normal political life in our country. Amongst other things, the emergence on the political scene of a strong Christian Democratic Party is almost impossible, which would pursue certain religious values in the political sphere. What will happen to the Russian state when it begins to protect religious symbols and values, I am afraid to imagine, and I do not know, but I think that a law on the protection of religious symbols, maybe, will soon be submitted to the RF Gosduma for consideration”.
13-14 July 2010
Let’s start off with a RAZZ to Interfax… where’s Shorty and the Sym-Phony? My version has 1,562 words… Interfax gave you 729… what gives? I didn’t count the words in the English version that gave you the information on the sentence and fines, as I omitted them. As they were in earlier releases, I left them out of my later posts. A great deal was left out, so much so that English-speaking readers got short-changed yet again by the Interfax English translator. I’m convinced that they’re someone’s relative… RIA-Novosti, ITAR-TASS, and VOR all do a nicer job in their “Englishing” of Russian. Let’s tack up another Big Green Weenie for Interfax. See what happens when you give your brother-in-law a job…
In addition, the Interfax translator “softened” Samodurov and Yerofeyev… those two paladins have nothing but contempt for the Church and it shows in their every utterance. Reflect well that the Western Secularist “liberals” and “neocons” support Samodurov and Yerofeyev unreservedly. Orthodox people should further reflect on the fact that when JP was given a choice, he chose to schmooze with godless neocons and kissed the bum of the Mormon First Apostle in public, when he could have stood with a bishop of the UOC (MP) in NYC… he CHOSE to mix with godless scum rather than with the representatives of a true confessor Church that withstood the attacks of Uniates, schismatics, and the very godless neocon trash that he was lusting to associate with (pictures don’t lie, kiddies… JP had himself photographed with the Mormon First Apostle… how much lower could you go?).
You can stand with Fr Vsevolod Chaplin… with Deacon Andrei Kuraev… with Vladimir Legoida… with His Nibs Himself and all healthy Russian people… or you can stand with godless secularists and their American enablers. Think very long on the fact that JP and SVS (and, indeed, the entire konvertsy set) would rather stand with American neocons than with the Church. They worship “Democracy” and “Freedom” and “Due Process” first… Almighty God gets the “seconds”… Things are NEVER boring in Orthodoxy, are they?
If you want to see the sort of rubbish that the neocons are writing (and SVS is supporting), look at the following: