An audience watches 'Manifesto,' a multimedia installation by Berlin-based artist Julian Rosefeldt at Museum MACAN in Jakarta on Wednesday. (JG Photo/Tara Marchelin)

Come and See Cate Blanchett Read Art Manifestos at Museum MACAN


FEBRUARY 27, 2020

Jakarta. Museum MACAN presents the first exhibition in Indonesia of "Manifesto," a multimedia video installation by Berlin-based artist Julian Rosefeldt, from Feb. 28 to May 31. According to Julian, the installation is a tribute to art manifesto traditions.

The installation comprises thirteen screens, each showing a video of the Oscar-winning actress Cate Blanchett playing different roles and reciting art manifestos from the 20th century.

"I've read hundreds of manifestos including from Futurists, Dadaists, Fluxus artists, Suprematists, Situationists, Dogme 95 and also from individual artists, architects, dancers and filmmakers. I selected 54 and reassembled them into thirteen manifestos," Julian said in a press conference in Jakarta on Wednesday. 

The artist said he decided not to name the characters portrayed by Blanchett in the videos, but all of them are taken from daily life, such as a teacher, puppeteer, news anchor and choreographer.

The assistant curator of Museum MACAN, Asri Winata, said a manifesto could be defined as statements made by an individual, groups, political parties or the government that illustrate ideas or the points of view of its writer.

"A manifesto is usually created to promote new ideas that encourage changes and concrete actions. It's normally presented in public, so public participation is an essential element," Asri said.

According to Asri, Julian had learned about how manifestos encourage people to create changes by exploring the relations between spoken words and gestures.

"He also wants to find out if the texts of a manifesto created in one country can be globally implemented and if they're still relevant today," she said.

Julian said he doesn't intend to limit the audience's interpretations of Manifesto. "It depends on the audience's imagination. Texts in Manifesto are a calling to act and reflect the words in the videos," he said.  

To get the best experience of Manifesto, Asri said, the audience should sit on the bench placed in front of the screens with a speaker above it. Every video has a close-up scene of Blanchett looking at the camera while she recites the manifesto.

"That's the moment when it seems there's no boundary between the character and the audience. It's like the character speaks directly to the audience," she said.

Major Exhibition

Manifesto is one of two significant exhibitions presented by Museum MACAN in February and March. "Why Let The Chicken Run?," a retrospective exhibition by the renowned Indonesian performance artist Melati Suryodarmo is also held on the same dates.

The director of Museum MACAM, Aaron Seeto, said both performance art and video art are the foundations of contemporary art.

"We hope by developing and presenting ideas from global and influential artists we will strengthen the dynamism of the Indonesian art scene. We hope audiences will appreciate various forms of art practice and participate in the world-wide conversations of contemporary art," he said.