Reconsidering Manifesta 10: Big Exhibition Project as Narrative

Marina Biryukova



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. 


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

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Revista de Ciência e Tecnologia das Artes
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