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Radical Abstractionism N7

LEFT: Avdei Ter-Oganyan. Radical Abstractionism N7. Caption: "This artwork appeals to forcibly change the constitutional system of the Russian Federation." RE: Article 280 Public Appeals for the Performance of Extremist Activity. Criminal Code of the Russian Federation.


The work N7 from the Radical Abstractionism series was banned from being shown at the exhibition "Russian Counterpoint" at the Musée du Louvre in 2010. It was arrested at customs on its way to Paris, France on chargers of possible extremist threat to the constitutional order of Russian Federation along with three other works, one of which was believed to actually call for an attack on Vladimir Putin. The Louvre showed the four works anyway.


The N7 has a visual reference to the XX c Russian avant-garde. The colorful geometric abstraction however has no underlying sensuality of Kandinsky's art, or theoretical perspective of Malevitch or Rodchenko


The innocuous image is accompanied by the quote from the Russian Criminal Code, Article 280 - inspired by the art from the exhibit Caution Religion (2003) which went on public trial in 2004. The harmless objects of Caution Religion were interpreted in such strong juridical terms that the two curators of the exhibit were charged under the Article 282 "Incitement of Hatred or Enmity, as Well as Abasement of Human Dignity" of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation. They faced 2 years jail term.


The evasive meaning subjected an artwork to baseless accusations, while its author was seen as a criminal and a threat to the society. 


The series revisits the problem of relationship between the image and the judgement, on its path to fame through art criticism and social interpretations. 


On June 11, 2016, Radical Abstractionism N7 will appear at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston black tie event, as part of the juried silent art auction. Half of proceeds will benefit the MFA


Caption: "This artwork appeals to an encroachment on the life of a statesman V.V. Putin, committed for the purpose of terminating his government or any other political activity, or out of revenge for such activity."


Kazimir Malevich. Suprematism. 1920 El Lissitzky. Proun. 1922


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