Russian artist sentenced in St. Petersburg

Some pieces of art are clever, while others are just shit. Russian artist Ivan Volkov’s most recent work combines elements of both.

According to this article, a 15-foot-long snow sculpture in the shape of a turd was placed at the Field of Mars in St. Petersburg by a Moscow-based artist. This famous square used to be used to bury Bolsheviks who died in Russia’s 1917 revolution and subsequent civil war.

“It’s so beautiful that I pooped myself”, In a since-deleted Facebook post that included a picture of his creation, the artist described the square.

Volkov got into trouble since the local authorities didn’t find his toilet humor funny. Police have instituted a criminal investigation against the artist, citing Article 244 of Russia’s penal code, which forbids the “desecration of bodies of the dead and their burial places”.

“Intentionally, cynically, immorally, out of hooligan motives, and disregarding the generally accepted rules and norms of behavior established in society, he placed an art object made of snow in the form of giant feces in a yellow puddle”, the report explains, according to a local news outlet.

Upon attempting to board a train headed back to Moscow, Volkov was detained. Should authorities find that his motivations were political, he may potentially spend up to five years in prison for the act. The least serious penalty is a fine of 40,000 rubles, or around $520.

The artwork was described in some Russian media reports as a critique of St. Petersburg’s inadequate municipal street maintenance. In contrast, Volkov claimed to have “not put any particular meaning” into the work in an interview with a Russian news outlet.

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Volkov, a graduate of the Stroganoff Academy of Design and Applied Arts and the Institute of Contemporary Art in Moscow, is known for creating grotesque snow sculptures in public spaces and posting pictures of them on his social media accounts. He clarified that his most recent ephemeral creation was colored with brown and yellow food coloring.

Soon after being detained, the artist was released, and his sculpture was later taken out of the Field of Mars, or, if you prefer, flushed.