This December, the Australian Centre for the Moving Image will unveil the world premiere of Manifesto (2015), a new thirteen-channel work by artist Julian Rosefeldt starring Cate Blanchett.
Manifesto draws on the writings of Futurists, Dadaists, Fluxus artists, Suprematists, Situtationists, Dogma 95 and other artist groups, and the musings of individual artists, architects, dancers and filmmakers. Passing the philosophies of Claes Oldenburg, Yvonne Rainer, Kazimir Malevich, André Breton, Elaine Sturtevant, Sol LeWitt, Jim Jarmusch, and other influencers through his lens, Rosefeldt has edited and reassembled a collage of artists’ manifestos, ultimately questioning the role of the artist in society today.
Performing these ‘new manifestos’ while inhabiting thirteen different personas – among them a school teacher, a puppeteer, a newsreader, a factory worker and a homeless man – Blanchett imbues new dramatic life into these famous words in unexpected contexts. Rosefeldt’s work questions whether these passionate statements, composed by artists with utter conviction, have withstood the passage of time. Can they be applied universally? How have the dynamics between politics, art and life shifted? And what is the artist’s role in society today?
“I have used the title Manifesto as a clear statement that the focus in this work is above all on texts, whether by visual artists, filmmakers, writers, performers or architects – and on the poetry of these texts. It's my intention to pull the curiosity of the viewer back to the text and the spoken word. Manifesto is a homage to the beauty of artists’ manifestos – a manifesto of manifestos,” said Rosefeldt.
“The art scene at the beginning of the last century was still very small. To be heard, artists needed to scream extremely loud. The art scene today is a global network and business with diverse means of expression, and the manifesto as a medium of artistic articulation has become less relevant in a globalised and connected art world,” he said.
Rosefeldt is world renowned for his visually opulent and meticulously choreographed moving image artworks exploring themes of dislocation, alienation and social and psychological disruption. Inspired equally by film, art and pop-culture histories, Rosefeldt uses familiar cinematic tropes to carry viewers into surreal, theatrical realms, where the inhabitants are absorbed by the rituals of everyday life, employing humour and satire to seduce audiences into familiar worlds made strange.
The exhibition, which runs from December 9th, 2015 through March 13, 2016, brings together Rosefeldt’s previous works Deep Gold (2013), Stunned Man (Trilogy of Failure II) (2004) and The Soundmaker (Trilogy of Failure I) (2004) with the newly commissioned work.