Using examples from the 1930s and the 1960s (the decades of show trials and the Khrushchev ‘thaw’), this article examines what ‘alternative jurisdictions’ – that is, courtroom-like debates outside the courtroom – existed in the Soviet Union, not only to debate, but also to make lasting determinations about what art is and who is empowered to judge it. Cultural and social restrictions – in the form of codes of conduct or an artistic “general line” (term after Sergei Eisenstein) – manifest themselves in these acts of judgement and condemnation. This raises the following questions, among others: What happens to the artist subject as a result of the various forms of ‘alternative jurisdictions’, and what is the task of the (artistic) collective? The investigation of typical Soviet quasi-judicial practices enables a deeper understanding of the mechanisms of contemporary Russian art trials, which attempt to silence artists who are critical of religion or society.
Abbildungsnachweis: 1 © Irene Bachčanjan. — 2 Nadžaf-Kuli, Pečal’naja istorija [Eine traurige Geschichte], in: Krokodil 12, 1954, 5. — 3 Ausst.-Kat. Spheres of Light – Stations of Darkness 2004 (wie Anm. 28), 312. — 4 Evgenij Vedernikov, Kartina jasnaja! [Das Bild ist klar!], in: Krokodil 35, 1952, 12.
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