What if there will be the Last Judgment for artists? Will the decision of the Last Judgment coincide with the conclusion of the Russian court, which doomed the artist to 20 years of exile?
As a child, Avdei Ter-Oganian was fascinated by the works of avant-garde artists. So, the harder he tried to be the professional in the field of avant-garde art, the more critical and provocative he seems to be. But his colleagues, artists, who often became objects of Avdei’s provocations, and even representatives of authorities tolerated him.
But once, during Moscow's Art Manege Fair in December 1998, Ter-Oganian conducted a scandalous performance: with a hatchet, he destroyed several icons - cheap objects, one he painted over with a profanity. His performance caused public protests towards his mistreatment of these icons, although they were just objects sold for tourists as souvenirs on the streets. As the scandal grew, Ter-Oganian's exhibit was closed, and further performances were prohibited. On TV and in newspapers, Russian Orthodox priests called to punish the satanist.
Although the professionalism of the secret agent and the professionalism of the avant-garde artist is different, the authorities act in the same way with meanness and violence. Therefore, I have appropriated the representation of politicians and secret services from an old French film to represent Russian authorities.
The parliament was appealing for action against Ter-Oganian, and finally, the Moscow prosecutor initiated a criminal case against him, charging Avdei with incitement of religious hatred.
In fall 1999 scared Avdei Ter-Oganian, avoiding the sentence to prison, managed to escape to the Czech Republic. There he turned from an energetic guy into a bearded grandfather.
After 20 years outside of Russia, just before returning home, the artist revises his values and finds freedom of speech and freedom of expression irreplaceable. As fare as Avdei Ter-Oganian himself is an irreplaceable professional on the Russian art-stage.
This film is about the price of being a professional.