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kept the common goal of provoking wide social protest. The members of the groups were both male and female, but the “Voina” group preferred to cherish the image of a conspirator male fighting squad, marching and camping and acting “on the quiet”. “Pussy Riot”, on the contrary, chose a pointedly civil, teenager-like and female image, unprotected and self-sacrificing. “Voina” saw itself in the masculine aesthetics of armed confrontation, while “Pussy Riot” declared itself a feminist group addressing the image of a youth punk group. In January 2012, with guitars and flags, in coloured costumes the group played a surprise concert in the Red Square, where in Yeltsin’s time, pro-democracy musical performances became a practice, having replaced war parades and official manifestations. The performance “Putin Has Pissed Himself” (7) might resemble a carnival show, if it wasn’t for the seditious words of the performed song. Now came the time of clashing confrontation, “For our and your freedom we’ll whip them to submission” – the bold young women cheerfully clamoured, choiring the refrain: “Riot in Russia! We exist! Riot in Russia! Putin pissed himself!” The “Pussy Riot” performance is included in the tradition of activist art in the Russian and Soviet artistic culture. This camouflaged performance that is an “artistic situation” is totally integrated in reality. The announced performance is more common for the western world were the spectator is warned of the artistic status of the performance and savours the dangerous game of an acting artist while being a passive observer. In fact, this risky performance takes place in a designated art space with comfortable armchairs and even a VIP-zone. In Russia, the artist is trying to do without the ramp separating him from the audience. A passer-by on the street takes such

a performance in good faith and responds not to the fact of art but to the fact of life, and the fact is so striking, not fitting into his idea of reality, that after such a shock to be confronted with his own beliefs, even his life (ideally) is to change. Here is the great difference between the “performance” and the “artistic situation”. General development of the tradition of protest art followed and still follows the line of maximum affirmation of reality of an artistic event, which is not played but lived through by an artist, where the spectator loses his observer’s position and becomes an involuntary participant. It is surprising that an exception from this rule was the most famous “Pussy Riot” performance “Mother of God, drive Putin away!” (8). It is a well known fact that it was also a musical performance of a punk group protest against the immoral behaviour of “supreme power” – President Putin and Patriarch Cyril, the supreme hierarch of the Orthodox church who came to an arrangement to rig the elections. The action looked like a teenage mischief. The activist artists managed to hide their real ages and status (many of them were wives and mothers, graduates of the Philosophy department of Moscow University). Under the cloak of hoods, the so-called balaclavas, wearing bright girl’s dresses, they really looked like a neighbourhood music group of teenage schoolgirls. The same impression was made by their ordinary music and the plain poetry of their songs. They looked not like modern artists but more like ordinary children. This travesty simulation has million times increased the impact of the action onto public consciousness. The passive, apathetic population was made ashamed with protest energy and courage of the young generation. Almost everybody today is sure that it was

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Katalog PUSSY RIOT AND THE COSSACKS & EFTER BODENSKOLAN 2014  

Pussy Riot and The Cossacks — Russian Tradition of Art Resistance Sommarens utställning på Havremagasinet i Boden visar rysk protestkonst...

Katalog PUSSY RIOT AND THE COSSACKS & EFTER BODENSKOLAN 2014  

Pussy Riot and The Cossacks — Russian Tradition of Art Resistance Sommarens utställning på Havremagasinet i Boden visar rysk protestkonst...

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