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Performance seitlich

Art and Provocation at eht Palace of the Tsars, a film by Irene Langemann, 52 min., HD


And with Kasper König at its head, a truly great connoisseur of the arts has been brought into the Manifesta fold. However, immediately after the announcement, protests arose throughout the international art scene: Is it permissible to award a country of increasing autocracy, human rights violations and homophobia a reputation-enhancing art biennial?

St. Petersburg, the former capital city of Tsarist Russia, is considered the cultural center of contemporary Russia. It is also the hometown of President Putin and – Surprise! – currently has a former KGB officer as city governor. Pomp and poverty exist side by side in the metropolis, as do cosmopolitan, broadminded artists and propagandists of a "true", autochthonous Russian way or path. The great pride and joy of St. Petersburg is the world-famous Hermitage Museum. And the Hermitage will be celebrating its 250th anniversary in 2014 at, of all times, the same time that the feisty and provocative Manifesta 10 will be in St. Petersburg at the former Tsarist residence, the Peterhof Palace (28 June to 31 October).

König sees himself as a poser of questions as well as an admirer of the cultural achievements of Russia. He invited Russian, Ukrainian and international artists to participate whose works stand in obvious dialogue with today's world. Some of the artists see themselves as political activists with a statement – which is something far from what Russia likes or wants.

The documentary film follows the preparatory work for the exhibition in St. Petersburg from the perspective of Kasper König. For the art biennale, the curator will be working closely together with Mikhail Piotrovsky, the director of the Hermitage, who has to date managed to keep his distance from political pressures. But for how much longer?

Prdoduced by Wolfgang Bergmann for WDR^in cooperation with ARTE.

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