You can see this odd hodgepodge of wax figures from the street. They stand clumped together in an outdoor walkway on the second floor of a shopping center in Saint Petersburg. Pay a 200-ruble ticket and you’ll gain access to a world where waxworks await a home.
The mismatch collection of wax exhibits serves up the weirdest juxtapositions: Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings characters sit next to a recreation of the Last Supper painting, but featuring Jesus with various Russian presidents. A wax Putin sits astride a Sabre-toothed tiger, while the furthest section of the exhibit displays a range of rather gruesome torture methods.
This open-air museum of sorts is run by Art-Artel, which manufactures wax figures to sell or rent out to museums, exhibition centers, galleries, or anyone else in need of a wax display, both in Russia and around the world. These range from distinctly Russian exhibits like “Pushkin and Lyceum,” “House of the Romanovs,” and “Stalin and his entourage,” to Western celebrities and pop culture figures like the Beatles, Charlie Chaplin, and SpongeBob. The exhibits cover history, art, religion, fantasy, cartoons, circus themes, and erotica. All-in-all it’s a very unusual collection, and fascinating for that reason.