Back to All Events

Queer Art in Contemporary Russia: Hard to Find and Easy to Misapprehend

In this talk Vlad Strukov will look at the situation in the Russian Federation where in 2013 a law ‘protecting children from information advocating for a denial of traditional family values’, an equivalent of British Section 28, was introduced. Vlad will consider how this legislation has affected cultural production, including visual arts, in this multi-cultural, multi-ethnic and multi-confessional country.

Diversity, including sexuality, is on top of social agenda in the UK and elsewhere in Europe. It is no longer just about improving the position of minority groups but also about re-considering the cultural canon. For example, QUEER BRITISH ART 1861–1967 (Tate, 2018) was the first exhibition to show works relating to lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and queer (LGBTQ) identities, marking the 50th anniversary of the partial decriminalisation of male homosexuality in England.

In spite of the present hostile environment, there has been an explosion of queer artistic practice in recent years in Russia, highlighting that queer art in contemporary Russia is richer and more diverse than previously thought. Strukov will explore how recent legislation in Russia has affected cultural production, especially the visual arts. He will also analyse recent exhibitions of contemporary art to reveal the actual scope and dynamics of queer art in Russia.

Artists, curators, media practitioners and those interested in visual culture, sexuality and otherness are welcome.

Vlad Strukov is an Associate Professor in Film and Digital Culture at the University of Leeds, specialising in contemporary visual culture, media and digital culture. He is the author of many books on Russian culture, including a recent volume entitled ‘Russian Culture in the Age of Globalisation’. He is currently a researcher on a project on Russian queer visual culture funded by the Swedish Research Council. He has previously been a visiting professor / researcher at the Universities of Copenhagen, Edinburgh, Helsinki, London and Pittsburgh. He makes regular appearances in international media such as Al Jazeera, American Public Radio, BBC and RBK. He is also an art and film curator, showing emerging artists at exhibitions in London, St. Petersburg and Venice. He has curated screenings and public talks at a range of internationally renowned venues including the Tate, BFI and Barbican Centre.

The event will be hosted by Galina Miazhevich who is an Associate Professor in the School of Journalism, Media and Culture at the University of Cardiff. She is currently working on an AHRC-funded research project entitled ‘Post-Soviet Representations of Non-Heteronormative Sexualities’.