Tuesday, December 21, 2010


Voina (Russian: Война = War) is a Russian performance group known for their provocative and politically charged works of performance art. Voina was founded in 2007 by philosophy students at Lomonosov Moscow State University and is led by Petr Verzilov and Oleg Vorotnikov,  however the collective members Oleg Vorotnikov and Leonid Nikolayev are detained by the Moscow police in connection with an anti-corruption protest, possibly facing seven years of prison sentence. In response to the detention, graffiti artist Banksy decided to raise money for the artists. They have also been denounced by right-wing groups like the People's Synod.

Voina came to widespread public attention with their 2008 work Fuck for the heir Puppy Bear!, staged the day before the election of Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, whose last name is derived from the word medved, "bear" in Russian. Five couples, including one pregnant woman four days from giving birth, had public sex in Moscow's Timirayzev State Museum of Biology. A more recent action, In Memory of the Decemberists - A Present to Yuri Luzhkov, staged a hanging of two homosexual men and three Central Asian guest workers, references to political stances of Moscow Mayor Luzhkov which have been denounced as racist and homophobic, and the frequent murders of guest workers in the city.[1] A Cop in a Priest's Robe featured Vorotnikov wearing the robe of a Russian Orthodox priest and the hat of a police officer leaving a grocery store without paying for a full cart of groceries, a demonstration of the "invulnerability" of these groups.

Other Voina actions include a wake for absurdist poet Dmitry Prigov, featuring a table with food and vodka, in a Moscow Metro car and celebrating International Workers' Day by throwing live cats at workers in a McDonald's restaurant "to break up the drudgery of their routine workday". In the night of June 14, 2010, they painted a giant 65 m long phallus on the Liteyny drawbridge leading to the Bolshoy Dom, headquarters of the local branch of the Federal Security Service in Saint Petersburg.