Sculptures We Do Not See, an exhibition showcasing Soviet Era art, opened last Friday at Moscow’s Manege Center. The exhibition included works from participants of the LeSS group, active in parallel to conventional art of the Soviet era, including artists such as Vadim Sidur, Nikolai Silis, and Vladimir Lemport. Topics surrounding the works include religious themes—a censored subject during Russia’s Soviet reign between 1922 and 1991.
Decades after creation, and the sculptures still show themselves capable of inciting controversy. “Delusional people came to the exhibition who broke several works belonging to the Manege collection, by Vadim Sidur,” Yelena Karneyeva, spokesperson for the Manege Museum, told AFP.
Head of the conservative religious organization God’s Will, Dmitry Tsorionov—who uses the pseudonym Dmitry Enteo—confirmed he was present opening day of the exhibition when the incident took place. “We called the police,” he said. “They will close the exhibition for offending believers.”
Enteo is notorious figure among Moscow’s cultural sectors. Earlier this year, he attempted to stop a gay pride rally in Moscow. In 2012, he took part in a threatening display against Moscow’s G-Spot Museum of Erotic Art. This time last year, following a lecture he gave, Enteo was criticized for his statements comparing Russian President Vladimir Putin to God. Enteo’s most recent alleged attack is heating up the digital media world with outrage from various sources criticizing his protesting methods. Radio journalist, Vladimir Varfolomeev of Echo of Moscow tweeted: “Now Orthodox warriors are smashing a sculpture exhibition in the center of Moscow. Hail the Russian IS.”
However, Vladimir Legoida, spokesperson for the Orthodox Church, told RIA Novosti news agency there should be a “legal assessment” of the attack, adding that believers “undoubtedly have the right to protest.” At the moment, whether Enteo will be charged with vandalism or any other charges is unclear.