Provocative Russian artist goes missing in Berlin

Thu Mar 27, 2008 8:43am EDT
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BERLIN (Reuters) - A Russian artist who provoked outrage with an exhibition in Moscow in 2003 that ridiculed the Orthodox Church has disappeared from her home in Berlin, police in the German capital said on Thursday.

Anna Mikhalchuk, 52, has been missing since last Friday afternoon when she left her home near the Lietzensee lake in the west of the city, police said.

Mikhalchuk had been charged in Russia with fomenting inter-religious discord for her 2003 exhibition entitled "Caution! Religion," which used paintings and sculptures to ridicule the Church.

She was later acquitted but the exhibition was ruled "openly insulting and blasphemous."

Mikhalchuk and her husband, a philosopher, criticized the Russian government after the trial and have been living in Berlin since November.

"The woman, known for her reliability, left her home near the Lietzensee on Friday at 15:30. Since then there has been no sign of her," police said.

(Reporting by Carolyn Palmer, editing by Iain Rogers and Mary Gabriel)