/ 15 July 2011

Exhibition hits the G-spot

Exhibition Hits The G Spot

Soviet condoms, a wall of drawings celebrating spanking, Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin doing battle with oversized penises: welcome to ­Moscow’s first sex museum.

The artfully named Tochka G (“G -spot”) opened last month off Arbat, Moscow’s famous tourist street, and is already courting controversy.

The Russian capital teems with sex, much of its nightlife centring on brothels and strip clubs. But when it comes to public discourse, sex simply does not exist.

The museum’s offerings range from the absurd to the historical. Upon entering the basement, visitors are confronted with two phalluses, each 2m tall: one decorated in the blue and white swirls of Russia’s traditional Gzhel ceramics, the other in a colour that can only be described as “flesh”.

The museum’s main drawcard is an oil painting by St Petersburg artist Vera Donskaya-Khilko titled Wrestling (2011). The canvas is dominated by Putin and Obama, standing face to face as they prepare to do battle with their enormous penises.

Paintings of orgies, mermaids with two sets of breasts and men serving cocktails on their erections compete for attention with sculptures of different species of animals engaging in sex.

Glass cases hold Soviet-era condoms, Soviet-era art deco Vaseline tins and old Russian pamphlets on “women’s illnesses”. There are also international offerings: erotic woodcarvings from France, ritual phalluses from Timor-Leste and even three gold-plated “phallus talismans” from 20th-century England. The modern offerings are inevitably more crude: life-size, blow-up dolls from the United States, an Argentinian sculpture featuring a woman lying on a white carpet while a pigtailed young blonde woman sucking on a lollipop looks on excitedly.

Yet for founder and curator Alexander Donskoi, the museum isn’t really about sex. “It’s a project about freedom,” he said. Donskoi is a loud critic of the Putin regime and modern Russia’s system of governance. Perhaps with good reason. The 41-year-old spent three years in prison after announcing, while mayor of the northern city of Arkhangelsk, that he planned to run for president during Russia’s last vote.

Donskoi’s main goal appears to be to provoke. His ire extends to the Russian Orthodox Church, an organisation that has gained increasing power under Putin. “The clampdown on freedom in Russia is the result of the nation steadily moving away from secular government,” he says.