Viktor Misiano: Traumatisation of Friendship

You are kindly invited to attend the talk by Viktor Misiano, which will take place this Tuesday, 16 September 2014, at 6 p.m. at the seminar room of the +MSUM. The talk is part of the Politicization of Friendship exhibition programme and will be in English.

Tuesday, 16 September 2014, 6 p.m.
Museum of Contemporary Art Metelkova, Maistrova 3, Ljubljana

In the 1990s, friendship as a form of social integration became widely sought in Eastern European countries. This happened because friendly ties, being at the basis of the alternative communities of the communist past, played a constituent role also in the hard circumstances of the post-communist transition. But at the same time, friendship was here comprehended as an up-to-date universal value, as an alternative model of globalization. Still, there was a certain ambiguity in that comprehension: very often friendship was seen not as a substantial condition of the artistic practice, but rather as a substitutional one. Symptomatic of this were even the terms proposed at the time: "institutionalization of friendship" or "NSK state" for instance. It seems that the art world in transitional countries (sometimes unconsciously) conceived also friendship as something transitional, which would have to be substituted with real institutions and a real state in the near future. And in fact, when that future came, the Eastern art world easily put friendship aside. It took time and a deep immersion in the institutional condition to realize that friendship is a value in itself and a primary condition of art life. The generative power of friendship can be seen in desire, but also - and there is a lot of confirmation for that - in trauma. If Augustine of Hippo was claiming for a "Friendship in God", we can talk today about "Friendship in trauma".

Viktor Misiano lives in Moscow and in Ceglie Messapica, Italy. He was a curator of contemporary art at the Pushkin National Museum of Fine Arts, Moscow (1980-90) and the director of the Center for Contemporary Art (CAC), Moscow (1992-97). In his freelance practice, Misiano was on the curatorial team for Manifesta 1, Rotterdam (1996) and curated the Russian section of the 3rd Istanbul Biennial (1992), the 46th and 50th Venice Biennale (1995, 2003), the 1st Valencia Bienal, Spain (2001), the 25th and 26th Sao Paulo Bienal (2002, 2004), the Central Asia Pavilion at the 51st Venice Biennale (2005), Live Cinema/The Return of the Image: Video from Central Asia, Philadelphia Museum of Art (2007-08), and Progressive Nostalgia: Art from the Former USSR, Centro per l'arte contemporanea, Prato (2007, traveled to Athens; Tallinn, Estonia; and Helsinki). In 1993 he was a founder of the Moscow Art Magazine and has been its editor-in-chief ever since; in 2003 he was, together with Igor Zabel a founder of the Manifesta Journal: Journal of Contemporary Curatorship (Amsterdam-Ljubljana) and since then has also been an editor there. He has been awarded an honorary doctorate from the Helsinki University for Art and Design.

Viktor Misiano has been related to the Moderna galerija with professional as well as friendly bonds. He was one of the three international advisors at the foundation of the Arteast 2000+ Collection, together with Igor Zabel he co-funded the Manifesta Journal, in 2004 he co-curated, together with Zdenka Badovinac and Igor Zabel the exhibition 7 Sins (Ljubljana - Moscow) at the Moderna galerija, Ljubljana. Lately, Misiano contributed to the publication L'Internationale-Post - War Avant-Gardes Between 1957 and 1986, published by the Moderna galerija and JRP/Ringier Zürich in 2012.

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