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Russian Artist Faces Criminal Charges Over ‘Unpatriotic’ Sculpture

Oleg Kulik's sculpture was on display at an art fair.

Sergei Kiselev / Moskva News Agency

The Investigative Committee of Russia has opened a “rehabilitation of nazism” case against a Kyiv-born Russian artist Oleg Kulik, art magazine Artgid reported today.

Kulik’s 2018 installation titled “The Big Mother” was exhibited at an art fair in Moscow’s Gostiny Dvor. The central piece of the installation was a statue of a woman holding a sword. Some pro-Kremlin critics, including writer Zakhar Prilepin, saw it as a parody of another, Soviet-era sculpture — a monument to the Motherland in the city of Volgograd. 

According to Artgid, the head of the State Duma Culture Committee Elena Yampolskaya sent a letter to the Prosecutor General’s office, asking the organization to look into the matter. Later, Oleg Kulik was questioned at the Investigative Committee, he told the independent channel Dozhd. If found guilty, Kulik faces up to three years in prison.

Oleg Kulik, one of Russia’s most famous contemporary artists and an art curator, has been active since the 1980s. He is best known for his series of controversial performances, including one in which he impersonated a dog. Kulik’s work has been exhibited in Paris, New York, Bilbao and many other cities around the world..

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