The iron curtain on art was lowered this week when Yulia Tsvetkova, a 27-year-old Russian artist and advocate for women’s and LGBT rights, was accused of distributing pornographic material. The charge is that she posted images of female anatomy online. The trial, which will be held behind closed doors, begins next week. If convicted, she faces six years in prison.
Enforcement of family values
The Daily Mail report notes that the Yulia case is consistent with the Kremlin’s conservative mindset. Last year, Russian President Vladimir Putin amended the constitution to preserve traditional family values. I wonder if he made light of Yulia’s collaboration with the exhibitions of the state museums, the Eremitage, where the works of the weiblichen Anatomie are on display for all to see.
(Mehr dazu in einer Minute).
Julias Zensur has worked for the company worldwide. Last week, Amnesty International described the case as a Kafkaesque nightmare and urged Russian authorities to drop the charges. Russian artist Alexei Gorbushin told the Associated Press that there is a Ponzi system in Russia and that if the art community doesn’t stand up for Yulia, anyone could be next. An online petition calling for the prosecution to be withdrawn has gathered more than 250,000 signatures.
Mould or container
Not that Julia’s case is all that unusual. As the Observer notes, Russian artists who speak out against the establishment are regularly punished.
I think of the famous case of a punk rock group called Pussy Riot. In 2012, the band was arrested for performing a song addressed to Putin in an Orthodox Christian church.
Operation in Excelsis
But Julia’s accusation of pornography is another matter. Her mother, Anna Khodyreva, told the Associated Press that her daughter had always been against porn.
Feminists are against pornography because it exploits women’s bodies. A candid picture of this exploitation, incidentally, is found in Simon Troger’s carved ivory statue, Rape of Proserpine, on permanent display in the Hermitage.
What you see is the harrowing story of the kidnapping of a dismembered woman – the ancient Roman goddess Proserpina – who struggles to escape the grasping hands of her rapist, the god Pluto.
The expression on his face shows agonizing ordeal. Putin’s concern about Russia’s sensitivity to female anatomy on the internet makes you wonder if he ever saw the very revealing rape of Proserpina. Either he doesn’t know, or he does, and he thinks the rape he sees in the museum makes it more enjoyable. If anything, it’s been edited by great art.
Then Georges Barbier’s illustration of the Queen of the Night in rough. Speaking of violating traditional family values, the story in this work unwittingly mocks Putin’s belief system. The title of the painting refers to a woman who threatens to disinherit her daughter Pamina if she does not kill the queen’s rival, Sarastro. Besides this depravity, Julia’s images are youthful.
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