No, it is a story about censorship, stupidity and cross-cultural differences.
Non-Russians, when shown this sculpture, somehow come to the conclusion that the artist is anti-feminist. Most Russians immediately come to the right answer. I am giving it to you in a second.
Alexander Appolonov is a recognised sculptor of the monumental persuasion. Most of his work is big. Monuments to czars, war heroes and the like. Not-so-subtle propaganda of the new Russian might and past Russian glory.
But in his free time, he’s smelting out romantic, lyric, ironic or, sometimes, sarcastic figurines.
The lady with a swine’s head was titled “The government bureaucrat”, obviously implying the corrupt nature of many of their kind. It was removed from the exhibition, because three different senior ladies from the Russian government recognised themselves and got offended.
Isn’t it ironic that they didn’t have the brains to keep it to themselves?
In today’s Russia, you can say anything you want. You can say things which would get you fined or imprisoned in the West (for harassment or a breach of a dozen political correctness laws), and killed in the East. The important thing is not to say it out very loud, whatever hate or love message you’ve prepared. Do not exhibit your thoughts! Just think them. Dream them. Which brings me to one of my favourite figurines by Apollonov, The Dreamer.
Or, his Venus
It reminds me of the Venus from the Old Stone Age:
And of Lucien Freud:
The Stone Age Venus was a token of fertility. Freud’s lady was a study of alienated body (she’s holding her own body as if it were not her own). Apollonov’s Venus is just a real, fertile, relaxed woman perfectly OK with her body. It is very much her own.
And below is a figurine I do not like. Well, it is a nice piece of art, just representing ideology I don’t agree with.
The Woman with Pillows is the kind of lady any man would want to marry, because she’s not only carrying these soft, cushy, cosy, fit-anything and anyone pillows, she’s just as soft, cosy, kind and supportive. She’s a pillow herself. Well, I don’t think many women in the West would want to be seen as a pillow for their partner. But I am sure Apollonov can sell it in, say, Dubai. Really. Had I owned a gallery there, this girl would be carrying the tag of $15K (and not for long, I am sure).
You see, one and the same sculptor can produce art catering to the needs of the State propaganda, opposition forces, feminists and anti-feminists. I don’t think it is ideological prostitution, it is just a mess in the head of a male talent.