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!


Nik's Blog said...

Thanks for posting that Roger. How silly to try to ban it. Like that's ever worked!


Anonymous said...

kissing policemen isn't the only work prohibited by russian ministry of culture. among 17 other, that didn't go to exhibition in paris, there is this one by an art-group called PG. you can see it here and decide by yourself -- should such things be banned or not:

it is a huge print (2 x 3 meters) with video installed in the center of it.

disgruntled said...

I should think that would be a tough one for your translator... I imagine the shade of Dostoyevski would hang even heavier over him or her than it does over you...

David Isaak said...

So, are you considering including any gay policemen in your third Porfiry novel?

Roger Morris said...

You're right Nik. A very counter-productive move. A bit like Mike whatsit banning Frankie goes to Hollywood way back when.

Hi anon - thanks for the tip-off.

Ah disgruntled, nice to see you popping in. Yes, that's a very good point. Hadn't thought of that.

David, you're giving me ideas. Hmmm, I shall have to see.

Shameless said...

What a wonderful photo. I'm glad it's been sent around the web ... justice! Good luck on your Russian launch. How exciting to have it published there. Your success is wonderful and well deserved. :-)

Roger Morris said...

Thanks Shameless, I really appreciate your comment - and your support all the way back to that wonderfully generous review of Taking Comfort you wrote.