Museum Villa Stuck, Munich
The 13-channel film installation Manifesto pays homage to the moving tradition and literary beauty of artist manifestos, ultimately questioning the role of the artist in society today. Manifesto draws on the writings of Futurists, Dadaists, Fluxus artists, Suprematists, Situationists, Dogma 95 and other artist groups, and the musings of individual artists, architects, dancers and filmmakers. Passing the ideas of Claes Oldenburg, Yvonne Rainer, Kazimir Malevich, André Breton, Sturtevant, Sol LeWitt, Jim Jarmusch, and other influencers through his lens, Rosefeldt has edited and reassembled thirteen collages of artists’ manifestos.
Performing these ‘new manifestos’ as a contemporary call to action, while inhabiting thirteen different personas – among them a school teacher, a puppeteer, a newsreader, a factory worker and a homeless man – Australian actress Cate Blanchett imbues new dramatic life into both famous and lesser known words in unexpected contexts.
Rosefeldt’s work reveals both the performative component and the political significance of these declarations. Often written in youthful rage, they not only express the wish to change the world through art but also reflect the voice of a generation. Exploring the powerful urgency of these historical statements, which were composed with passion and conviction by artists many years ago, Manifesto questions whether the words and sentiments have withstood the passage of time. Can they be applied universally? And how have the dynamics between politics, art and life shifted?
A manifesto is usually a public statement expressed in writing. It is intended to clarify intentions, views or goals of an individual or a group. Artists’ manifestos also address social topics beyond art, such as freedom of expression and the call for a radical change of attitudes or society. Presented as performed and spoken monologues, the artistic world concepts and ideas of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries are condensed into a “ manifesto of manifestos“ and set into present-day contexts.
The Berlin-based artist Julian Rosefeldt is internationally renowned for his visually opulent and meticulously choreographed moving image artworks, which tend to be conceived as multi-screen installations. Inspired equally by the history of film and popular culture, Rosefeldt embraces familiar film clichés, in order to carry the viewer off into surreal, staged situations whose protagonists seem to be all caught up in the rituals of everyday life. Using humour and satire, Rosefeldt invites us into seemingly familiar yet distorted worlds.
An exhibition of the Museum Villa Stuck in cooperation with the Sammlung Goetz.
Curators: Dr. Verena Hein (Villa Stuck), Dr. Cornelia Gockel (Sammlung Goetz)
(Press release Museum Villa Stuck, Munich)
Image: JULIAN ROSEFELDT Manifesto (film still), 2015 © Julian Rosefeldt und VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2017