AN UNKNOWN vandal spilled red paint over a huge statue of Joseph Stalin that was on display outside of the Slovak National Gallery (SNG) as part of its exhibition called An Interrupted Song (Prerušená pieseň). The incident occurred on July 23 at noon and the SNG told the media that its video cameras and constant monitoring of the area in front of the Esterhazy Palace across from Štúra Square in Bratislava could lead to the arrest of the vandal. The museum filed a criminal complaint with the police.
“The result is not only a damaged historical artefact, the façade and the surroundings, but also an unpleasant, aggressive intervention into the integrity of a work of art and democratic principles of using a public space,” stated the SNG’s PR manager, Dáša Dúbravová. She added that the decision to exhibit the statue of the Russian dictator as part of an educational exhibition was meant to help Slovaks come to terms with their past and to better know their national history, part of which was the communist regime that was influenced by Soviet policy, including the communist perception of art and culture.
“On the other hand, one could cynically say that this act puts the SNG among other top galleries worldwide which have experienced such “excesses” when their artworks became targets of a crooked mind” the SNG stated in press release. “Or, one could say that to remain politically correct but also symbolic, that Stalin had “blood on his hands” and also a “red nose”, though the dictator was strictly against alcoholism.
30. Jul 2012 at 0:00 | Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská