Medium: Performance Art
Artist: Avdey Ter-Oganyan
Confronting Bodies: Indignant public and Non-governmental organizations
Dates of Action: 1998
Location: Moscow, Russia
Description of Artwork: During the annual Art-Manezh fair, Ter-Oganyan staged a performance he called Young Blasphemer in which he destroyed religious symbols in the form cheap paper icons from church shops. These were defaced with obscenities, nails, fake excrement, and chopped apart by axe. The project was meant to be dedicated to blasphemy as a tool for modern art.
The Incident: The exhibit was closed after protests from the public and a court case was opened on the grounds of promoting religious hatred.
Results of Incident: Ter-Oganyan fled to the Czech Republic where he lived in refugee camps without citizenship. The Russian government ordered him to be arrested if he ever tried to cross the border back into the country.