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20 Oct, 2007 23:38

Art bosses see red over Blue Noses

Two of Russia’s most provocative artists, known as the Blue Noses, have had a famous work banned from a Russian political art exhibit in Paris.

’The Era of Mercy' photograph, which shows two policemen kissing, was described as an ‘erotic picture’ by Russia’s Culture Minister and therefore banned from the ‘Sots Art’ exhibition in Paris.

“Of course, we were flabbergasted by the Minister's words because we don't think that our artworks or any others feature pornography or bring shame on the country. Anyway, the Minister helped promote the scandalous popularity of the Paris exhibition,” says one half of the Blue Noses, Aleksandr Shaburov.

For Blue Noses, contemporary art is all about breaking conventions and taboos while adding a twist of irony and black humour.

“We are often asked these days whether it's the end of years of the Thaw and the beginning of censorship. One could probably say its both. The thing is there can be no censorship in contemporary art, such as photography, video and performances as it can travel fast around the world via the Internet,” Aleksandr says.

Back in 1999, Vyacheslav Mizin and Aleksandr Shaburov made a series of videos in which they were wearing blue bottle-tops on their noses, hence the nickname.

“Our works are hard to define. Contemporary art should never be unambiguous. It should rather be like a sandwich with several layers of filling,” Vyacheslav Mizin believes.