Oleg Kireev on Tue, 19 Jan 1999 10:08:19 +0100 (CET)

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<nettime> mailradek no. 10

    Moscow-based magazine "Radek", dedicated to theory, art and politics
continues the project "mailradek in english". The information about the
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Everybody who doesn't receive it can send a "subscribe english mailradek" 
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    Our address is: Russia 117333 Moscow, Vavilova 48-237, for O.Kireev. 
tel./fax:(095)137 71 31. 

                                                                    text no. 68
At early December Avdei Ter-Oganyan, an artist, at the art fair "Art
Manege"*opening, proposed the audience to "defile" the Orthodox icons'
reproductions and broke some of them with the hammer. We know his aim wasn't
a desecration, but a means of his witty intellectual dispute with the Moscow
radical artists (a parodic repetition of gestures with which they were
shocking the public in the early 1990s) and that his work has been grounded
on such manner for some time by now. There were the Orthodox activists who
didn't know that and who called for his subordination. Ter-Oganyan was cast
away from Manege by their efforts and now he finds himself under the legal
case for "provoking an inter-confessional discord". Priests in churches give
their laity to sign "the letters of rage" addressed to the General
prosecutional office.

The radical artists he's been parodying have got a habit of laughing upon
the hysterical  screemings of the fundamentalist newspapers, and that
usually didn't lead to anything serious. Those times are gone, now the
prison threatens the "desecrator". Radical art of Brener, Osmolovsky and
Kulik elaborated the genre of action-situation during the 90s. Situation
consists not only of artistic action, but also of the social context's
reaction on it. Parodying them in the art context, Avdei, consciously or
not, realized their political strategy.

The church itself has been making the varied "actions" for a long time
already: it receives the monumental buildings in the city center, fills the
public space with clerical propaganda, ever and everywhere supports power in
all its undertakings (regardless of wheather it's Yeltsin or Luzhkov),
simultaneously proclaims its distance from any politics and just grieves
for the loss of spirituality. Not only the Orthodox believers (it's their
duty) took part in scandalizing the Avdei's action, but the very secular
people as well. They claimed to be "abused" too. What a high morality
underlies the doings of moralists who hurry up vying each other to express
the "indignation", the "deep affliction", the "decisive protest" against the
condemned and doomed immoralist!

Relations between the secular power and the church are mutually satisfying:
the first feels comfortable not only through veiling its businesses with
rhetorical speeches on morality, but through supporting them with references
to eternal values as well, for the second it's better to keep a silence.
Everyone knows how it participated in the state property's privatization and
what income the Moscow partiarchy does get from the particularly spiritual
stuff such as tobacco and alcohol import (thanks to the privileged taxing).

The hero of the scandal is an artist with concrete history (one of the most
talented authors of 90s, participator of many international projects, his
works are displayed in the Russian museum). But let's presuppose that it's
some anonymous activist, someone like Ivan Sokolov, a trial on whom for the
Nicolas the Second monument's explosion started not long ago. The society is
anonymous too, and its interests are anonymous, but someone must express
them. The juridicial system is not an abstract dimension of a pure reason
and justice, but it expresses these interests' intersections. We have to
express our interests much more and stronger than Avdei for to make church
and others stop fucking our brains. A shameful silence of the art
community's bosses, such as Misiano or Guelman and the "free press" is a
political blindness, since it will be not difficult for the church to find a
bit of their sins too. The judge won't decide anything. The practics of
state and church violence are to be answered by the concrete practics of
resistance only.

P.S. If someone were able to publish some info about the events, it would be
a significant help in Avdei Ter-Oganyan's case. Please send it by post
address or fax to the *RADEK* office.
                                           Oleg Kireev
                                           translation: Irina Aristarkhova
                                           realization: mailradek
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