Swan Lake Demo

During the late Soviets, the Swan Lake ballet was usually broadcasted on TV instead of planned programs prior to some important announcements, i.e. general secretary’s death announcement, or in order to silence the events of the coup of August 1991 within the media field. Then, all USSR TV channels were broadcasting the ballet repeatedly for 3 days in a row. When in March 2020, during broadcasting of Swan Lake at the grand digital opening of Bolshoi Theatre’s media program, it was interpreted by the audience as a sign that something had commenced. What happened were the drastic transformations within the imprecise contemporaneity.

The exhibition is a fairy meta-narrative, appropriating the semiotics and symbolism of Tchaikovsky’s classical ballet. It’s not only a love story, faith and death, but also a symbol of resilience and, more importantly for the post-Soviet space, a sign of some significant events. Not a harbinger, but a confir- mation of an unknown incident — a story to displace a story within the areas of vulnerability. An exhibition reveals the story in four acts, representing contemporary St. Petersburg art, imbued with its own mysticism and symbolism and faithful to its habitat and identity. It’s not just displacing a story and a history, but underlining social, political and cultural shifts which have happened recently. Scene I – Everybody’s dancing. The fun is going on.

The exhibition curator Veronika Nikiforova has united 8 contemporary artists representing St. Petersburg art scene. The concept of the exhibition is the winner of the open call launched by the international online platform Art Catch in the framework of the 2nd Curatorial Forum. The Forum is an annual event organised by the National Center of Contemporary Art (NCCA) in St. Petersburg.

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