On June 9 - 10, 2018, at the General Staff Building of the State Hermitage, with the support of the Aksenov Family Foundation, hosted the intellectual marathon "UNTITLED" dedicated to the exhibitions "Ilya and Emilia Kabakov. Not Everyone Will Be Taken Into the Future" and "Arte Povera. A Creative Revolution".
The marathon became the key event of the public educational projects prepared by the Hermitage’s Youth Centre for the exhibitions of contemporary art. For all their differences, the two exhibitions currently on display in the Hermitage do have much in common. First of all, Moscow Romantic Conceptualism and the Italian Arte Povera both emerged in the late 1960s and early 1970s, and they are conceptually connected with the large-scale creative renewals that swept through world culture after the revolutionary events of May 1968, the 50th anniversary of which was celebrated in 2018. That specific date became a key point uniting different aspects of the cultural legacy of that time and the perception of them today, which were discussed within the marathon.
Mikhail Piotrovsky, General Director of the State Hermitage, opened the intellectual marathon. He identified a number of topics that were later raised in the discussions. Among other things, while comparing the May 1968 revolution in Paris with events at that same time in the USSR and Egypt, he stressed that
history is a complicated matter, many things look different from a distance and what seemed to overshadow all the remaining events at the time was in fact a part of the general historical situation.”
As an example, the director read two poems by Alexander Gorodnitsky reflecting that writer’s perception at different periods in time: Molière from 1969 and Informer’s Day from 2018, noting that they reflect the questions in which “politics, recollections of politics and history” are connected.
Four important discussions brought together leading Petersburg and Moscow historians, philosophers, art scholars, artists, directors and researchers of the cinema and theatre. In parallel with the discussions, the art scholar Gleb Yershov and the artists Dmitry Gutov and Anatoly Osmolovsky conducted tours of the exhibition “Ilya and Emilia Kabakov: Not Everyone will be Taken into the Future” as part of the programme “An Individual Opinion”.
By tradition, the intellectual marathon, which is held with the active participation of the staff of the Department of Contemporary Art, ended with a reading from Homer’s Iliad by Dmitry Ozerkov in the Atrium of the General Staff building.