Prague's Artwall gallery in cooperation with Prague Pride is hosting exiled Russian multimedia artist Slava Mogutin's first solo show in the Czech Republic, exploring the theme of this year's Pride – LOVE.
Lost boys. From Russia with love is made up of portraits taken from 2000 – 2004, after Mogutin's persecution by the Russian authorities for his outspoken queer writings and activism and subsequent exile. Despite his experience, the New York-based artist is keen to avoid painting a one-dimensional picture of his homeland.
“It's such a cliché to portray Russia as a totally grim and sad place, so I was eager to show a different side of my country that is colourful, exciting, sexy and full of raw energy,” Mogutin stated.
The exhibition organisers believe the topic of the exhibition to be especially poignant within the Czech context.
“In the Czech Republic, we might feel sexually liberated especially during moments like Prague Pride week, still we should not get too smug regarding our tolerance,” said Zuzana Štefková, one of the curators. Although nothing akin to Russia's “gay propaganda” laws exists in the Czech Republic, visitors may bear in mind recent homophobic statements by certain Czech MPs and the well-documented case of the suicide of a gay teenager in the country two years ago.
The portrait series on show at Artwall was the subject of Mogutin's first photography monograph and a travelling solo exhibition that originated in New York and later traveled to Krakow, Luxembourg, Madrid, and Berlin.
Lost boys. From Russia with love will be on show until 30 September. More information can be found on the Artwall website.