Friday, October 12, 2007
Russian Policmen kiss.
I love this image. Unfortunately, as reported in today's Guardian, the Russian culture minister, Alexander Sokolov, does not. He's banned it. Well, weirdly, he's banned it from being shown in Paris, although it's already appeared in Russia, at Moscow's state-owned Tretyakov gallery, no less.
His reason for not giving the kissing policemen (and 15 other artworks by Russian art collective Blue Noses ) permission to leave the country is: "If this exhibition appears [in Paris] it will bring shame on Russia. In this case, all of us will bear full responsibility."
Ah well, Mr Sokolov, I'm afraid to say that by preventing this image from appearing in one Parisian art gallery you may have provoked its dissemination to millions of computers around the world, via the power of the internet.
I'm hoping to visit Russia next month, to coincide with the Russian publication of my Russia-set novel A Gentle Axe. I can't begin to express how thrilled and honoured, yes honoured, I am that a Russian publisher is willing to embrace my own vision of 19th century St Petersburg, influenced as it is by one of their greatest writers, Fyodor Dostoevsky. It seems to me to be an act of great magnanimity and open-mindedness on their part. It will be interesting to see how the book goes down with Russian readers and critics. I expect there will be some who take against it (Mr Sokolov, for one?) though I've had some good Russian responses to the English edition so far.
Don't forget, while we're on the subject of all things Russian, there's another double bill of Eisenstein at the Curzon Mayfair on Sunday. The highlight is Battleship Potemkin with Ed Hughes' stunning score. Ed will be fielding questions afterwards. I have one for him: "Don't you feel it's presumptuous of you to take one of the masterpieces of world cinema and put your own score on it?" And if he comes back with "A case of the pot calling the kettle black" I won't be offended!