A photograph showing two policemen kissing passionately
in a Siberian forest has been banned by the Russian
The image shows the two uniformed policemen kissing
on the lips and holding each other by the buttocks
in a show covered forest of birch trees.
The picture entitled Kissing Policemen (An Epoch
of Clemency was due to go on display at an exhibition
in Paris, but was banned by the Russian authorities.
Russian culture minister Alexander Sorolov described
the controversial picture as political provocation.
He said he was pulling it and 16 other works from
a display of contemporary Russian art at Paris's
Maison Rouge exhibition hall this week.
Mr Sokolov said: "It this exhibition appears,
it will bring shame on Russia. In this case, all
of us will bear full responsibility.
"It is inadmissible... to take all this pornography,
kissing policeman and erotic pictures to Paris."
Another work by the same artists, the Blue Noses
collective, which showed Vladimir Putin, George
Bush and Osama bin Laden cavorting on a double bed
in their underpants, was also banned.
Customs officers confiscated the montage from a
British art dealer last year when he tried to take
it to London.
The creators of the Kissing Policemen claim it is
a homage to the celebrated British graffiti artist
"We were inspired by Banksy's iconic image
of two constables kissing. We wanted to do the same
but in Russia," said Alexander Shaburov, who
created it with Viacheslav Mizin.
The picture had nothing to do with homosexuality,
but was an absurdist fantasy about what could happen
if everyone showed mercy and tenderness to each
other, he explained.
However, the image received no mercy from the authorities
in Russia, prompting Shaburov to claim: "The
state is beginning to administer culture in the
same way it did under Khrushchev."
The photo was taken in the Siberian city of Novosibirsk
and shown at the Tretyakov gallery in February and
March this year. It is now in a small gallery in
There was no scandal when it was shown in Russia,
Russian leader Vladimir Putin is not known for his
sense of humor. He banned Russia's version of the
satirical British TV puppet show Spitting Image
in one of his first acts as president.
- Oct 16, 2007