Pussy Riot
VELVET TERRORISM - Pussy Riot´s Russia
24. 11. 2022 - 29. 01. 2023
Kling & Bang, Reykjavík announces the first ever overview exhibition of protest performance actions by Russian feminist political-art collective Pussy Riot.

„Velvet Terrorism“ that‘s what Putin‘s spiritual confidant, bishop Tikhon Shevkunov called Pussy Riot‘s performance after Punk Prayer: Virgin Mary, Banish Putin, the collective‘s protest action in Church of Christ the Saviour in Moscow in 2012. The exhibition in Reykjavík includes Pussy Riot’s world known performance actions as well as showing their numerous lesser known, but consistent actions in and around Russia for the last decade. The works are bursting with the urgency of artistic rebellion against a dead eyed totalitarian system.

The exhibition is created with Pussy Riot member Maria (Masha) Alyokhina and exhibits documentations of the activists' actions from the beginning of their movement in 2011 to the current day. Showing the performances in context - prelude, action, reaction - the exhibition will shed light on the oppression and the growing brutality of the dictatorship in Russia for the last ten years.

The exhibition invites the audience to explore a labyrinth of the group's guerrilla actions and the serious consequences of executing them. In addition, we open the doors for you to the world of constant police surveillance, fake news, the criminal cases against Masha and Lucy Stein, her partner and Pussy Riot comrade, before and during the war, and give you the opportunity to understand a little the totalitarian world that Russia plunged into during Putin‘s decade before making a full-fledged military invasion in Ukraine. The show will also contain the groups recent anti war music and graffiti actions.

Pussy Riot‘s political art is some of the strongest of its kind in the 21st century. It is feminist, pro LGBTQ+ performance art created in non-consensual collaboration with the increasingly totalitarian Russian state so the actions of the state become elements in their art. Be it prison, Novichok, whips, ancle tags or exile, Pussy Riot turn every violent action of the state into art material, shifting the power balance.

In Alyokhina‘s 2017 book Riot Days – a punk manifesto for freedom and choice, written from her experience of performing Punk Prayer and the resulting two year sentence in a penal colony in the Ural mountains – she describes an impromptu protest in prison, coming to the conlusuion that „this is what protest should be – desperate, sudden, and joyous.“ The exhibition in Kling & Bang tries to convey that spirit while shedding light on the disastrous development of Russia and its consequnces, at a time when most of us are trying to understand what on earth is going on in Putin‘s Russia through world news of imminent, if not already started, World War.

Last week Kling & Bang‘s website was attacked by what seems like pro-Putin hackers, leaving a vulgar anti Ukrainian message on the front page.

Pussy Riot is currently touring Europe with their live performance Riot Days, raising money to support Ukraine and awareness for the importance of immediate sanctions on Russian oil and gas.

Velvet Terrorism – Pussy Riot‘s Russia is curated by Dorothee Kirch, Ingibjörg Sigurjónsdóttir and Ragnar Kjartansson and includes a new work, filmed in Reykjavík in collaboration with Ragnar Kjartansson. The night after the opening of Velvet Terrorism – Pussy Riot‘s Russia in Kling & Bang, the group will perform Riot Days live in Reykjavík at the National Theatre of Iceland on November 25th. Proceeds from the concert and the exhibition go to supporting Ukraine.

The exhibition is realised in collaboration with TBA21 Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary.
The exhibition is supported by Visual Arts Fund.
Kling & Bang is supported by Reykjavik city.

Kling & Bang
The Marshallhouse
Grandagarður 20
101 Reykjavík

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Grandagaršur 20 - 101 Reykjavķk