Manifesta 10 Succeeds Despite Controversy

See the best from Kasper König's take on the roaming art biennale.

Katharina Fritsch, Frau mit Hund (Woman with Dog) (2004) With the support of the Arts Foundation of North Rhine-Westphalia and the Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen e.V. (ifa), Stuttgart, Germany, Photo: Wolfgang Träger © Manifesta
Katharina Fritsch, Frau mit Hund (Woman with Dog) (2004) With the support of the Arts Foundation of North Rhine-Westphalia and the Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen e.V. (ifa), Stuttgart, Germany, Photo: Wolfgang Träger © Manifesta
Louise Bourgeois, The Institute (2002) Photo: Wolfgang Träger © Manifesta

Louise Bourgeois, The Institute (2002)
Photo: Wolfgang Träger © Manifesta

Manifesta 10 opens at St. Petersburg’s State Hermitage Museum this Saturday. To some—likely the roaming art biennale’s curator, Kasper König, among them—that sole fact is accomplishment enough. Since König signed on to head up the exhibition, much has changed on the ground in Russia: a swath of anti-gay legislation and censorship, and the Kremlin’s growing expansionist tendencies with the annexation of Crimea and alleged continued involvement in unrest in eastern Ukraine principle among other issues. König and Manifesta director Hedwig Fijen have remained optimistic, however, attempting to use the platform as a means to transcend the current geo-political wrangling. Art, they’ve repeatedly posited , cannot fall prey to politics. 

By all accounts two days into the preview, they’ve prevailed. (Even in spite of members of the Russian staff going without pay at certain times.) The State Hermitage Museum’s General Staff Building and Winter Palace is filled with works by 50 artists, from blue chip figures like Louise Bourgeois and Gerhard Richter to more of-the-moment names like Karla BlackJoëlle Tuerlinckx, and Klara Liden.

There’s a refreshingly solid balance between male and female artists in the show. And, König has taken the welcomed step of mixing historical works and simply good pieces from year’s past with new commissions. It’s through this practice that he’s managed to exact the shows conceit: a sort of anti-teleological view on artistic developments, both in aesthetics and society at large, since the fall of the Berlin Wall. See the best of that offer, below.

Katharina Fritsch, Frau mit Hund (Woman with Dog) (2004) With the support of the Arts Foundation of North Rhine-Westphalia and the Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen e.V. (ifa), Stuttgart, Germany, Photo: Wolfgang Träger © Manifesta

Katharina Fritsch, Frau mit Hund (Woman with Dog) (2004)
With the support of the Arts Foundation of North Rhine-Westphalia and the Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen e.V. (ifa), Stuttgart, Germany, Photo: Wolfgang Träger © Manifesta.

Francis Alÿs, Lada Kopeika Project (2014) Commissioned by Manifesta 10, St. Petersburg with the support of the Flemish authorities, Photo by Wolfgang Träger © Manifesta

Francis Alÿs, Lada Kopeika Project (2014)
Commissioned by Manifesta 10, St. Petersburg with the support of the Flemish authorities, Photo: Wolfgang Träger © Manifesta.

Otto Zitko, A Line Against Linearity (2014) Courtesy Krobath, Vienna | Berlin, Austria and Germany, and Galería Heinrich Ehrhardt, Madrid, Spain, Commissioned by Manifesta 10, St. Petersburg with the support of the Austrian Federal Chancellery and the Austrian Cultural Forum in Moscow, Photo: Wolfgang Träger © Manifesta

Otto Zitko, A Line Against Linearity (2014)
Courtesy Krobath, Vienna | Berlin, Austria and Germany, and Galería Heinrich Ehrhardt, Madrid, Spain, Commissioned by Manifesta 10, St. Petersburg with the support of the Austrian Federal Chancellery and the Austrian Cultural Forum in Moscow, Photo: Wolfgang Träger © Manifesta.

Pavel Pepperstein, Matryoshka (The Russian Doll) (2014) Courtesy the artist, Commissioned by Manifesta 10, St. Petersburg, Photo: Wolfgang Träger © Manifesta

Pavel Pepperstein, Matryoshka (The Russian Doll) (2014)
Courtesy the artist, Commissioned by Manifesta 10, St. Petersburg, Photo: Wolfgang Träger © Manifesta.

Gerhard Richter, Ema (Akt auf einer Treppe), Ema (Nude on a Staircase) (1966) With the support of the Arts Foundation of North Rhine-Westphalia and the Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen e.V. (ifa), Stuttgart, Germany, Photo: Wolfgang Träger © Manifesta

Gerhard Richter, Ema (Akt auf einer Treppe), Ema (Nude on a Staircase) (1966)
With the support of the Arts Foundation of North Rhine-Westphalia and the Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen e.V. (ifa), Stuttgart, Germany, Photo: Wolfgang Träger © Manifesta.

Nicole Eisenman, The Fagend (2008) Courtesy Tajan, Paris, France with the support of the United States Consulate General in St. Petersburg, Photo by Wolfgang Träger © Manifesta

Nicole Eisenman, The Fagend (2008)
Courtesy Tajan, Paris, France with the support of the United States Consulate General in St. Petersburg, Photo: Wolfgang Träger © Manifesta.

Karla Black, Recognisable Defence (2014) Courtesy Galerie Gisela Capitain, Cologne, Germany, Commissioned by Manifesta 10, St. Petersburg, Photo by Wolfgang Träger © Manifesta

Karla Black, Recognisable Defence (2014)
Courtesy Galerie Gisela Capitain, Cologne, Germany, Commissioned by Manifesta 10, St. Petersburg, Photo: Wolfgang Träger © Manifesta.

Erik van Lieshout, The Basement (2014) Courtesy Annet Gelink Gallery, Amsterdam, Netherlands, Commissioned by Manifesta 10 St. Petersburg with the financial support from the Mondriaan Fund, The Netherlands Film Fund, Outset Netherlands, and Wilhelmina E. Jansen Fund, Photo: Wolfgang Träger © Manifesta

Erik van Lieshout, The Basement (2014)
Courtesy Annet Gelink Gallery, Amsterdam, Netherlands, Commissioned by Manifesta 10 St. Petersburg with the financial support from the Mondriaan Fund, The Netherlands Film Fund, Outset Netherlands, and Wilhelmina E. Jansen Fund, Photo: Wolfgang Träger © Manifesta.

Joëlle Tuerlinckx, The (Red) Room [Adaptation of “A Stretch Museum Scale 1:1”, 2002] (2014) Commissioned by Manifesta 10, St. Petersburg with the support of the Flemish authorities, Photo: Wolfgang Träger © Manifesta

Joëlle Tuerlinckx, The (Red) Room [Adaptation of “A Stretch Museum Scale 1:1”, 2002] (2014)
Commissioned by Manifesta 10, St. Petersburg with the support of the Flemish authorities, Photo: Wolfgang Träger © Manifesta.

Wolfgang Tillmans, St. Petersburg Installation (2014) Courtesy Galerie Daniel Buchholz, Berlin / Cologne, Germany, Commissioned by Manifesta 10, St. Petersburg with the support of the Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen e.V. (ifa), Stuttgart, Germany, Photo: Wolfgang Träger © Manifesta

Wolfgang Tillmans, St. Petersburg Installation (2014)
Courtesy Galerie Daniel Buchholz, Berlin / Cologne, Germany, Commissioned by Manifesta 10, St. Petersburg with the support of the Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen e.V. (ifa), Stuttgart, Germany, Photo: Wolfgang Träger © Manifesta.

Vladislav Mamyshev-Monroe, Tragic Love (1993) and Self poisoned? No, poisoned!!! (1989) Photo: Wolfgang Träger © Manifesta

Vladislav Mamyshev-Monroe, Tragic Love (1993) and Self poisoned? No, poisoned!!! (1989)
Photo: Wolfgang Träger © Manifesta.

Klara Lidén, Warm up: State Hermitage Museum Theater (2014) Courtesy the artist, Reena Spaulings Fine Art, Galerie Neu, Berlin, Germany, Commissioned by Manifesta 10, St. Petersburg, With the support of Iaspis, the Swedish Arts Grants Committee’s International Programme for Visual Artists, Photo: Wolfgang Träger © Manifesta

Klara Lidén, Warm up: State Hermitage Museum Theater (2014)
Courtesy the artist, Reena Spaulings Fine Art, Galerie Neu, Berlin, Germany, Commissioned by Manifesta 10, St. Petersburg, With the support of Iaspis, the Swedish Arts Grants Committee’s International Programme for Visual Artists, Photo: Wolfgang Träger © Manifesta.

Installation view, Maria Lassnig, Manifesta 10 Photo by Wolfgang Träger © Manifesta

Installation view, Maria Lassnig, Manifesta 10
Photo: Wolfgang Träger © Manifesta.

Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, The Handkerchief’s Opera (2014), Commissioned by Manifesta 10, St. Petersburg Courtesy the artist, Photo: Wolfgang Träger © Manifesta

Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, The Handkerchief’s Opera (2014), Commissioned by Manifesta 10, St. Petersburg
Courtesy the artist, Photo: Wolfgang Träger © Manifesta.

Installation view, Marc-Camille Chaimowicz, Here and There (1978) and Prie-dieu (2011) Courtesy the artist and Cabinet Gallery, London, Photo: Wolfgang Träger © Manifesta

Installation view, Marc-Camille Chaimowicz, Here and There (1978) and Prie-dieu (2011)
Courtesy the artist and Cabinet Gallery, London, Photo: Wolfgang Träger © Manifesta.


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