Pussy Riot become icons: "blasphemous" art exhibition under investigation
by Nina Achmatova
Opened in September in the midst of heated controversies and protests, the exhibition contains works in which girls from the feminist punk band are depicted as icons. Accused of "inciting religious hatred".

Moscow (AsiaNews) - The Russian Investigative Committee has launched an investigation into the art exhibition that opened in September in Moscow and is dedicated to Pussy Riot. The suspicion is that the exhibited works, in which the three girls from the feminist punk band are depicted as icons, could incite religious hatred.

Entitled "Spiritual Combat", the exhibition aims to evoke the story of the feminist group and its battle against religious institutions and state corruption. The three girls were sentenced to two years in prison in August for having staged an anti-Putin prayer in the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour.

The disputed works by the artist Evgenia Maltseva are on show at the Ghelman gallery in the centre for contemporary art Winzavod, immediately targeted by some groups of Orthodox fanatics who tried to prevent the opening of the exhibition, September 20, leading to unrest and scuffles. The initiative had already been strongly criticized by the Moscow Patriarchate. The head of the Department for Relations between Church and society, Vsevolod Chaplin, warned that the show could insult sacred images, venerated by Christians and in a statement the Russian Orthodox Church had spoken of "a cynical attack on Russian culture" that has nothing to do with art.

According to the organizers, however, they are works of modern art with which you want to "liberate the icon from his chains historical dogmatism, obscurantism and ignorance".