Timing is everything.
When I was commissioned to contribute to the Manifesta 10 exhibition catalogue with a text on the political meaning of Russian art, Russian lawmakers had already passed legislation against “homosexual propaganda,” but Crimea had not yet been annexed.
Once the annexation became fact, it was finally clear that it would be impossible to write such a text, as if the Manifesta in Petersburg were just an ordinary exhibition in yet another ordinary country (albeit one with shortcomings). I decided to distance myself from the project.
When Manifesta’s curator Kasper König answered public demands to boycott this year’s festival by saying he would be upset if Manifesta was “misused by political actors as a platform for their own self-righteous representation,” it became clear to me that precisely what I had to do was “misuse” this platform—though not to address the political significance of Russian art, but to rather address the political significance of Manifesta 10, scheduled to open in Saint Petersburg on June 27.
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