Walking into Manifesto is an assault on the senses. Twelve screens and audio tracks smack you round the face to bring you up to the forced referencing of architecture, film, theatre, performance and the visual arts. Rosefeldt reads around and from the foundational texts by artists who shaped the history of art of the twentieth century. These include Futurists, Dadaists, Fluxus, Suprematists, Situationists, Situationists and Dogme 95 and individual artists. But, by bringing these manifestos together, Rosefeldt creates his own manifesto – a “manifesto of manifestos”.
Each of the twelve films co-ordinates with one another to come together in one moment of eerie similarity, each speaking in a different pitched monotone. As you look around at this moment, you have several faces intensely staring at you, daring you to listen to all at once. Australian actress Cate Blanchett embodies each of the twelve characters bringing forward a call to action, where language and its preformative musicality are meant to be put into motion. The manifestos that are spoken in each of the ten and a half minute films are generally written by angry young men, and performed here by a woman.
“Rosefeldt’s work reveals both the preformative component and the political significance of manifestos. Exploring the powerful urgency of these declarations composed with passion and convictions by artists over the last century, Manifesto questions whether the words and sentiments have withstood the passage of time. Can they be applied universally? How have the dynamics between politics, art and life shifted over time?”
The exhibition is the last on display in Montreal’s Contemporary Art Gallery (Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal) before moving buildings after seventy years.