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Scandal in the Tretyakov Gallery: complaints were received about the exhibition of “drunken alcoholism” and the absence of the head of the Virgin

Date: March 27, 2023 Time: 03:13:04

At the exposition in the Krymsky Val hall, dedicated to the 20th century, the guests saw scenes of hopeless despair.

Photo: Mikhail FROLOV

Art is beautiful because it gives infinite freedom of interpretation and identification. But this is also dangerous. Therefore, the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation paid special attention to the complaints of some visitors to the Tretyakov Gallery. The guests saw (and were horrified) at the exposition in the Krymsky Val hall, dedicated to the 20th century, scenes of hopeless despair.

To be more precise: “deep pessimism, a feeling of emptiness and hopelessness”, revealing scenes of “numerous funerals, even in the presence of marginal social elements”, “drunken alcoholism” and “voluntaristic interpretations” in Soviet art of the second half of the twentieth century.

The name of the guest is not revealed, but is it really important? Now the Ministry of Culture is asking the Tretyakov Gallery to “verify” that the exhibition complies with traditional values, which are now enshrined at the legislative level by a decree of the President of Russia dated November 9, 2022.

Telegram channels write about the incident in a little more detail. As, in a complaint to the Ministry of Culture, someone Sergey Shadrin described the claims quite specifically: in the Last Supper cycle, consisting of 13 canvases, “it is impossible to understand who Judas is” even after detailed study. This refers to the work of Natalia Nesterova in 2005. In fact, they are specific, but it is not correct to interpret them as a literal interpretation of a well-known biblical story. In fact, as art critics noted, the work shows what a party is in general, why people gather; “The meeting of the apostles is the essence of what can generally happen between people when they are together for a long time and someone loves someone…”.

The “Pieta” sculpture, created in 1978 by Alexander Burganov, according to the complaint, is a “diabolical interpretation” of a religious plot, since the Virgin has no head.

Here, too, not everything is so simple. After all, the Virgin’s head is missing for a reason. With this, the sculptor only emphasizes the depth of pain and despair after the crucifixion of his son.

– The main characters are not personified in the composition – there is no bent grieving Mother, there is no corpse lying on her knees, – indicated on the Burganov website. “Only the cloth remains, which was once a garment and has become an independent and self-sufficient object. We do not see gestures of despair and mournful crying. Suffering is hidden from us. Only folds remained, preserving the recognizable shapes of the Pieta. Through this abstraction of the specific forms of the human body, the sculptor achieves the maximum tragic sound of the image and forms that sacred space in which the memories of all the beautiful works of art united by this theme are concentrated.

In a word, the Tretyakov Gallery now has a task with an asterisk. Or take pictures, or get on the head of a sculpture. Indeed, for similar reasons, the 9th Moscow International Biennale of Contemporary Art, which was supposed to be held at the Tretyakov Gallery, was canceled in 2022. The head of the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation, Olga Lyubimova, called the biennale as a “controversial exhibition” and said it was impossible to hold it in the Tretyakov Gallery.

Puck Henry
Puck Henry
Puck Henry is an editor for ePrimefeed covering all types of news.

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