MJ#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. In its 9th issue Manifesta Journal focuses on the History in the Present and queries the complexity of exhibition’s temporality. 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