Reconsidering Manifesta 10: Big Exhibition Project as Narrative

Keywords: exhibition narrative, Manifesta 10, Hermitage museum, curator’s conception, museum context, Gesamtkunstwerk, audiovisual media

Abstract

This article analyzes the exhibition project of Manifesta 10 (St. Petersburg, 2014) as a complex of narratives including media texts and artists’ myths and stories. Two main, mutually affecting themes of the Manifesta 10 narrative are defined as a dialog between classical and contemporary art and an idea of “total work of art” in the context of the theory of “Gesamtkunstwerk”. The basis of the theory was laid by R. Wagner, and it had later continued in contemporary cultural studies in relation to interactivity of contemporary art. Big exhibition projects transform the idea of “total work of art” into the concept of unity of different artistic elements (artistic methods, media, art spaces, mythologies, commentaries, critical texts) in the whole of the exhibition. The curator’s idea of dialog between classical art and contemporary artworks stresses the key role of the Hermitage in the project of Manifesta 10 and demonstrates benefits and disadvantages of an exhibition mega-project in a classical museum. The “big story” about the opposition of contemporary art and tradition consists of minor stories of particular projects in the exhibition. In this regard, the criteria of Manifesta 10’s critical reception and interpretation are considered. 

Author Biography

Marina Biryukova, Saint Petersburg State University
Marina V. Biryukova, Ph.D., is senior lecturer of the Department of Museum Work and Protection of Monuments, Institute of Philosophy, Saint Petersburg State University; She is also Associate Professor of the Department of History and Theory of Art, Saint Petersburg State University of Industrial Technologies and Design. Her current research concerns the relationship between the evolution of contemporary art exhibitions practice and aesthetic paradigm of the time. She is the author of the book Exhibition of Contemporary Art as an Author’s Project: Harald Szeemann and Documenta 5, Saint-Petersburg, 2013

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Published
2017-08-01