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All is not sacral that glitters
Interview with Gorod (812) No. 39 (192) as of November 12, 2012

Another day the story with silver tombstone of Alexander Nevsky continued (as announced Minister of Cultural Affairs Vladimir Medinsky, Government intends to transfer it from the Hermitage to the Alexander Nevski Monastery) – Bishop Nazary announced that the Alexander Nevski Monastery is ready to accept juct the copy of the tombstone. Gorod 812 received exclusive comment of the Hermitage Director Mikhail Piotrovsky concerning both situation with shrine and story with citizens' complaints of the exhibition of Chapman brothers.

- Why not to give shrine to Monastery?

-Let's start with the fact that shrine is a coffin. But the Hermitage possesses silver tombstone of Alexander Nevsky. A matter of principle – what is silver and art and what is sacral item. We have normal, though not easy dialogue with ROC. Our position is well-known – to prepare at the expense of the Government (which during post-revolutionary years robbed both museums and churches) exact copy of the tombstone and give it to Monastery.

In the Hermitage should stay memorial of Jeweller's art which is the link in historic bond of military plots of the Winter Palace greathalls: Peter I – Alexander Nevsky (tombstone executed at the order of Elizabeth) – Alexander I.

I insisted that the cost for making a copy was included in the Hermitage budget which is allocated for the Museum 250th anniversary preparations. In the anniversary year of 2014 we could not only receive gifts, but doing them ourselves. Still we were denied on this article. Making copy is one of the ways to solve the complex problem of Alexander Nevsky tombstone. That is what Minister of Cultural Affairs meant, not future of the original.

- There is information that public prosecutorís office received a complaint from citizens demanding to close exhibition The End of Fun by Chapman brothers in the Hermitage.

- I know nothing about it.

- Letís say you were asked to explain the essence of this exhibition.

- This is a powerful anti-war, anti-Nazi piece. The image of the swastika is not prohibited in works of art. Those who deny the anti-fascist character of Chapman brothers' work, could be accused of protecting Nazis from attacks. In other words, these people are the preachers of Nazism.

Vadim Shuvalov

For reference

Exhibition of famous British artists, brothers Jake and Dinos Chapman, which opened at the State Hermitage Museum on October 19 is called The End of Fun. It is composed of 9 glass cases, approximately 2 x 1,5 x 1,5 m each, in which with the help of fibreglass figures was created piece of battle shown violently and naturalistic. According to the authors, the Nazis of the past and the Nazis of the future kill each other by thousands. The production of the entire composition took three years of a small factory work.

In addition, Chapman brothers bought one of the later editions of etchings by Goya from the series The Disasters of War, and supplemented them with depictions of space warfare. Now they are much more expensive. Admission to the exhibition of persons under the age of 18 is prohibited.


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