'Imitation' — Alexei Kuzmich's action at the Élysée Palace grounds

Photo  |  CONTEMPORARY ART  |  ACTION   |  FRANCE  |  26.05.2021

'Imitation' — Alexei Kuzmich's action at the Élysée Palace grounds

Photo  |  CONTEMPORARY ART  |  ACTION   |  FRANCE  |  26.05.2021

Belarusian artist Alexei Kuzmich published photos of his 'Imitation' action, which was held on the grounds of the Élysée Palace in France.



On April 1, 2021, Alexei Kuzmich was detained by the French police during his 'Imitation' (#imitation) action, which he dedicated to the 'victims of the peaceful revolutions, who died in vain'. The law enforcement authorities considered his action as an attempted terrorist attack. Still, twenty-four hours later, the artist was released with a warning that another precedent might lead to his prosecution.

According to Le Figaro newspaper, the artist attempted to climb the fence of the Elysée Palace, the residence of French President Emmanuel Macron, holding a bottle of unidentified liquid with a piece of pre-lit rag in it. He was accompanied by two persons who took photos and videos. All three were detained and charged with gun violence. According to the police source, the liquid in the bottle was not dangerous, and the action author stated that he was an artist and did not want to commit violence.

The 'Imitation' action consists of three parts and, in addition to the main action, contains a video prologue and a social media post titled 'Letter to the French President Macron'.

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Alexei added that the warning issued to him by the anti-terrorist division of the Paris criminal police 'is a punitive measure'. Within six years, his case can be resumed at any time at the authorities' initiative, and he can be detained.

'Security in this country is over for me', the artist wrote. He noted that he left the territory of France.

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Alexei Kuzmich is a Belarusian performance artist known for his actions against repression and censorship. He left Belarus in September 2020 for fear of persecution after staging his action 'I Believe, or Philistine World of Political Animals' at a polling station during the presidential election. Kuzmich walked out of the voting booth blindfolded, wearing only a loincloth and holding his arms in a crucifix position. A ballot was attached to his chest with a phallic symbol painted on it. He repeated this action the same evening before the riot police attacking protesters after the presidential election.

In 2019, before an exhibition opening in Minsk, Alexei held an action 'Shield, or the Ministry of Phalloculture': he took a Viagra pill, got undressed, and put a copy of the signboard of the Belarusian Ministry of Culture on his erect penis, showing his disagreement with both aesthetic and political censorship.



Photo: Palice Jékowski, @where.is.clem 

All materials are taken from the personal sources of the artist.

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