From Yury Dolgoruky kitted out as Santa Claus to Mikhail Sholokhov donning a colourful woolly hat, Moscow’s monuments are getting an impromptu makeover. A growing trend among pranksters has seen many of the city’s statues decorated with so-called “yarnbombing” (pryazhemetanie) or knitted graffiti. And it seems to be a mixture of official initiative and individual exuberance which has prompted the colourful displays.
One of the first monuments to get a makeover was Yury Dolgoruky’s statue opposite the mayor’s offices on Tverskaya. On the orders of Yury Luzhkov, City Hall boss at the time, the city’s founder was dressed up in the red robes of Santa Claus for the festive season from 2006-2008. But while that has since stopped, the idea has caught on and statues across the city have been kitted out in woolly hats or colourful scarves by jokers wishing to brighten up the city.
The designers of the works involved tend to be in favour of these temporary new looks, Noviye Izvestiye reported.
When brightly-striped knitwear or sculpted birds appear on the Gogolevsky Bulvar monument to Mikhail Sholokhov, author of “Quiet Flows the Don”, the creator sees it as a success.
“The author of the monument, Alexander Rukavishnikov, considers it an indication that the monument has successfully been integrated into the urban environment,” said Sergei Polovinkin of the city’s department of culture. But Polovinkin himself warned that such gestures might spark annoyance on other occasions, pointing out that nobody would consider doing this in a cemetery and suggesting that monuments in the city should enjoy the same respect…
Some people think cemeteries are suitable for everything from picnics to sex, Sergei. Although I wouldn’t recommend sex on a statue in front of city hall, a picnic might not be so bad. And bring a scarf for the statue.