March 19, 2023

Don't Wear a White Coat


Don't Wear a White Coat
The latest art installation by Yav Art Group in St.Petersburg is a mannequin wearing a white coat with its sleeves tied to its back. Yav_zone, Instagram

In a bold act of public dissent, the art group Yav ("Reality") put up a sculpture along the embankment of the Fontanka River in St. Petersburg. The work criticizes Russian society's arrogant and blind-sighted attitude toward the war. Social media users reported that authorities quickly took down the statue.

The sculpture consisted of a mannequin with legs crossed wearing a white coat. In Russia, "putting on a white coat" describes someone who criticizes a situation from a high pedestal but doesn't acknowledge their own shortcomings.

From the front, the mannequin stood tall with its arms-crossed. Yet the sleeves were tied in the back, intentionally resembling a straitjacket. The art group installed their sculpture on an empty pedestal where statues of Alexander II and, later, Lenin once stood.

Yav posted pictures of the sculpture on Instagram with the following statement: "To wear a white coat means to judge others from a position of superiority while straight-out alluding that the wearer of the white jacket isn't that way, never was, and never will be. Their kids, grandkids, pets, etc. will never be that way either." Yav predicted to the publication Podyom that the coat would not have time to get dirty before it got taken down.

Another example of Yav's art was when they wrote on a St. Petersburg wall "gulag" spelled as "Goolag" with the same font Google uses on its homepage. Under the inscription, was a search bar with the words: "How to find a way out?"

 

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