Twenty seventeen marked the 100th anniversary of the October Revolution. The exhibition at the Hartware MedienKunstVerein (HMKV) has used the occasion to investigate the photograph which came to symbolise the Revolution like no other: the “Storming of the Winter Palace”. However, the photograph does not stem from the historic event itself, but rather from a mass spectacle, staged by the Russian theater director Nikolai Evreinov in 1920. On the third anniversary of the Revolution, the Soviet regime wished to stage a public re-enactment of the storming of the Winter Palace, even though it had never taken place and therefore could not have been photographed. The exhibition presented film footage and photographs of the mass spectacle of 1920, as well as the photo’s journey to becoming a document in the writing of Soviet history, in picture books, school books, and on posters. In addition, works by contemporary artists – like director and re-enactment specialist Milo Rau or the Russian artist group Chto Delat – commented on the storming of the Winter Palace, while reflecting on wider issues such as history, memory, re-enactment and repetition. The exhibition has been supplemented by the staged performance of the October Revolution from 1988 by the Polish artist group Orange Alternative, along with works by the artist Christina Lucas and film director Peter Watkins.
Curators: Inke Arns, Sylvia Sasse (CH)
Artists: Chto delat (RU), Nikolaj Evreinov (RU), Waldemar Fydrych (Orange Alternative) (PL), Cristina Lucas (ES), Kazimir Malevich (RU), Milo Rau – International Institute of Political Murder (CH), Peter Watkins (UK)
Gessnerallee, Zürich: 1 Sep. – 31 Oct. 2017;
Muzeum Sztuki, Lodz: 30 Nov. 2017 – 28 Jan. 2018