Press Release for Artwall 2011 VOINA WANTED

After a three year forced pause Artwall Gallery opens with the project VOINA WANTED by the Russian art collective Voina.The group Voina (in russian "War“), active since
2007, became famous for its actions criticizing the abuse of power and violation of civic rights and liberties in Russia. Among its most notorious realizations is the 65 meters tall phallus painted on a drawbridge in Saint Petersburg addressed to the Federal Security Service (former KGB), or an orgy in the Museum of Biology under the motto „Fuck for the Heir – The Little Bear“ mocking the presidential elections that (as expected) brought victory to Dimitry Medvedev (Medved = Bear).

"Project VOINA WANTED, conceived directly for Artwall Gallery, is meant as a gesture of solidarity with two Voina members that were charged with assaulting and insulting a police officer. These acts were supposedly committed last March, during a demonstration in support of the right to peaceful assembly in Russia,“ says one of the curators Petr Motyčka. The face of the campaign and the wanted "criminal“ is Oleg Vorotnikov, the main ideologist, who experienced brutal interrogating methods of the Russian police and spent three and a half months in jail under accusation of inciting hatred towards a specific social group. Paradoxically, this social group was the Russian police itself whose corrupt and arrogant ways and lack of competence was denounced by several of Voina’s performances.

The photographic material used in VOINA WANTED comes from an action in 2008 that commemorated the Decembrists by means of a staged execution of five representatives of unwanted citizens — homosexuals and foreigners — in a supermarket in Moscow. This public lynching was presented as a “gift to Moscow's Mayor“, infamous for his repeated banning of GLBT marches and the support of xenophobic attitudes toward migrant workers from former Soviet republics.

“As we witness the growing hatred toward ethnic and other minorities in the Czech Republic, we consider the project VOINA WANTED very relevant. We want to support artists persecuted for their activities aimed against the abuse of power by Russian politicians and police. We also want to stress that even in a democratic system, a critical art statement can become a pretext for persecution and censorship,” maintains Zuzana Štefková, curator of Artwall.

In this context we can also recall the history of Artwall itself, whose existence in the past was endangered by politically motivated censorship. The Artwall Gallery was founded and run by the Center for Contemporary Art Prague since 2005. In 2008, the Municipality cancelled the leas contract of the Artwall gallery in response to the exhibition “Collective Identity“ by Guma Guar Grouppe. This project critically appropriated the official campaign promoting Prague as a future Olympic host city. "Artwall became the first gallery after 1989 that had been liquidated for political reasons masked as necessary enforcement of regulations. Finally, after three years of struggle for its re-opening, the gallery is starting to operate again under the patronage of Prague's Mayor MUDr. Bohuslav Svoboda,” concludes Markéta Dolejšová, coordinator of Artwall.

"I am wholly in favor of the fact that streets of Prague need to be revived in this way. I perceive the idea of the open public gallery Artwall as one of the most interesting art projects of recent years. I want to push for revitalization of public space and get more art to the streets and public spaces, " says the Prague's Mayor Bohuslav Svoboda.

Opening will take place on November 8th, 2011 at 6 pm on a boat bar U Bukanýra, Embankment Ludvíka Svobody
Discussion with artists will be held on November 9, 2011 at 7 pm in Divus, Bubenská 1, Prague 7

For more information see:

Project is realized by c2c Circle of Curators and Critics
The exhibition is organized under the patronage of Prague's Mayor doc. MUDr. Bohuslav Svoboda CSC. and with the support of the International festival of Documentary Films Jihlava
Media partners: Lidové noviny, Umělec, A2 kulturní týdeník, Radio 1

Curators: Zuzana Štefková, tel.: 731 512 512, This email address is being protected from spam bots, you need Javascript enabled to view it , Petr Motyčka, tel.: 603 160 797, This email address is being protected from spam bots, you need Javascript enabled to view it
Coordinator: Markéta Dolejšová, tel.: 734 575 896, This email address is being protected from spam bots, you need Javascript enabled to view it
Artists: Alexey Plutser Sarno: This email address is being protected from spam bots, you need Javascript enabled to view it , Yana Plutser Sarno: yan This email address is being protected from spam bots, you need Javascript enabled to view it