September 17, 2010 - Manifesta - MJ #9: “History in the Present”
September 17, 2010

MJ #9: “History in the Present”

MJ #9 History in the Present
Out now

Manifesta Journal is an international journal focusing on the practices and theories of contemporary curatorship. It seeks to explore and analyze current developments in curatorial work, in correspondence with the evolution of the Manifesta Biennial over the course of the past editions of the biennial. The main aim of Manifesta Journal is to give a stronger voice to an up-and-coming group of curators, intellectuals, theorists and critics, and to function as a platform for the articulation and discussion of their positions within a pan-European and transcontinental context.

In 2009 Manifesta Foundation initiated the publication of a new series of the Manifesta Journal, starting with an inquiry into the fundamental aspects of curating. MJ #7, The Grammar of the Exhibition, was followed by MJ #8, Collective Curating, an issue anticipating the curatorial model of the upcoming Manifesta 8, which will open on October 9, 2010.

Manifesta Foundation is now proud to present:

Manifesta Journal #9: History in the Present

Exhibitions are, by definition, ephemeral. They experience time dramatically. While the works displayed are usually destined to endure, the exhibition itself is condemned to disappear. From a historical perspective, the most authentic locus of an exhibition is arguably in the viewer’s memory. Not all exhibitions, however, are granted a place in history.

Is it true that the life of a work of art is phenomenologically autonomous from its contextual presentation in an exhibition? Is the exhibition a self-sufficient text that inevitably presumes that, after the exhibition, each work loses the particular meaning it had in the exhibition’s chain of signifiers?
And is it really true that the locus of the show is properly in the present (or in any actual time, for that matter)? Perhaps the temporality of an exhibition is more complex. Today, artistic sensibility seems imprisoned in the present, experiencing nostalgia for the future and dwelling on potentialities of the past. One of the paradoxical tasks of the contemporary curator might thus be to present a historical retrospective of context-dependent art, and thereby to defend the radicality of archival artworks.

An exceptional group of authors has been invited to contribute to the current Manifesta Journal issue, which provides the reader with a differentiated view on the topic of the History in the Present.
Within the section Positions, Mihnea Mircan discusses contemporary artistic and curatorial practices with regard to their mechanisms for processing art history, and suggests that artworks can function as historical objects as well as sites that forecast the future understanding of art. In the section Discourse, Stefan Heidenreich deals with the paradox of eternal contemporaneity, whereas Boris Groys’ essay interrogates the definition of contemporary art through the “excessive” or suspended time of time-based art.

Dialogues features an interview with Seth Siegelaub, one of the first independent curators and a chief proponent of conceptual art in the late 1960s. Within the section Studies, Sven Spieker equates curating with a pre-modern understanding of storytelling. The section Documents presents a reprint of a text by Marga van Mechelen in which she discusses three exhibitions that questioned the presentation of contemporary art in the late 1980s. Finally, Chiara Bertola provides an insight into the curatorial practice of the institutional space of the museum, drawing on the example of the Fondazione Querini Stampalia in the section Practice.

MJ #9 includes contributions by: A*Desk, Zeigam Azizov, Chiara Bertola, Dessislava Dimova, Petja Grafenauer, Boris Groys, Stefan Heidenreich, Giovanni Iovane, Marga van Mechelen, Mihnea Mircan, Seth Siegelaub, Elena Sorokina, Sven Spieker and Nathalie Zonnenberg

The editorial team of Manifesta Journal is composed of:

Chief Editor: Viktor Misiano, Moscow (RU)
Senior Editor: Nathalie Zonnenberg, Amsterdam (NL)
Associate Editor: Filipa Ramos, Milan (I) / London (UK)
Managing Editor: Lisa Mazza, Amsterdam (NL) / Bolzano (I)
Copy Editor: Joanna Fiduccia, New York (USA)

Manifesta Journal is an initiative of the Manifesta Foundation, Amsterdam and is published together with Silvana Editoriale, Milano.

Previous Issues
MJ #7 The Grammar of the Exhibition
MJ #8 Collective Curating

Upcoming Issue
MJ #10 The Curator as Producer

The reprint of the first series of Manifesta Journal in the format of two books (MJ #1-3 and MJ #4-6) is available. For further information, please contact Lisa Mazza (Managing Editor):

For subscriptions & general information

Manifesta Foundation
Prinsengracht 175 hs
1015 DS Amsterdam
The Netherlands
Tel: +31 20 672 1435

For orders

Silvana Editoriale
Via Margherita de Vizzi, 86
20092 Cinisello Balsamo (Milano)
Barbara Belloli
Tel: +39 02 61836394

The Manifesta Journal is made possible through the support and collaboration of:

Manifesta Journal

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