“Play the people who play the world.”
That’s the mission behind Russian artist Petro Wodkins’ recent endeavor, Sound of Power, a series of busts of global political leaders that also function as audio speakers. Wodkins debuted his latest speaker-sculpture, Russian president Vladimir Putin, on September 21st.
We spoke with Wodkins about Sound of Power, humor and censorship in the age of Vladimir Putin (whom he sardonically calls ‘Saint Vladimir’) — as well as that time Wodkins had to flee Zimbabwe after his gilded Robert Mugabe statue pissed off area security forces. Excerpts of the interview, which have been edited for clarity, are below: