In Translation. Exhibition. Curator Mariam Ghani (USA)


29.06 - 20.07.2014

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Program: [Contemporary art and contemporary society]

North-Western Branch of the National Centre for Contemporary Arts
St Petersburg PRO ARTE Foundation for Culture and Arts
Vladimir Mayakovsky Central City Public Library
Supported by the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation and the Mikhail Prokhorov Foundation

In the Parallel Program of Manifesta 10

29 June – 20 July 2014


Curator – Mariam Ghani (USA)

Venue:Centre for Art and Music of the Vladimir Mayakovsky Library at Nevsky prospekt,20.

Opening on 29 June 2014 at 17:00 in the Centre for Art and Music of the Vladimir Mayakovsky Library at Nevsky prospekt, 20.

"Walter Benjamin describes the "task of the translator" as producing a new text in harmony with the intention of the original - faithful not to its letters, but to its spirit. Translation in this sense is the impulse to produce something new from something old, or to transpose and transplant ideas from one language, culture, medium, or moment to another - communicating across gaps of time and space, context and experience. This impulse can be traced through such phenomena as the literary translation, the cross-medium adaptation, the remake, the homage, the historical re-enactment, the art-historical reference, and the site-responsive installation (which both translates a specific time and place into an artwork, and adapts that artwork to other specific times and places, when re-presented in other venues). Translation can also be an attempt to understand, consume or subsume the other, or to understand the self through another's perception, as seen in the particular case of the 'Russica' collection in Russia's National Library, which has for hundreds of years collected books printed in other languages about Russia, or rather foreign representations of Russia – translations of Russia into other forms and spheres, and refractions of Russia as both notion and fact through a hundred different prisms. Finally, encoding and decoding can also be understood as special cases of translation, which allows for consideration of traditional cryptography, steganographic imagery, political allegories, the use of poems as passwords in certain movements, and the converso tradition in literature."

Mariam Ghani

The In Translation Exhibition presents projects created by nine St. Petersburg and Moscow artists, participants of the In Translation workshop conducted in February–May 2014 by the acclaimed U.S. artist Mariam Ghani who explores the issues of memory, place, history, language, loss and reconstruction. Workshop participants were offered a chance to work with the idea of translation, be it translation of content, form or location. The projects featured at the exhibition refer to various aspects of ‘translation’: it is viewed both as a problem of interpretation in the context of time and space in the project by Emily Newman who uses the Chelyuskin steamship heroic exploit as an example, and as a study of the iconological transformation of the Guardian Angel plot in the installation by Natasha Kraevskaya. Semyon Motolyanets approaches the problem of translation being impossible and the meaning of image remaining impenetrable, while Alexander Belov presents his authorial practice of slow reading imitating the way translators read texts. Anastasia Pavlitskaya works with exhibition space using it as a source for translation in her Columns object; Ilya Orlov draws audience’s attention to how the language of spaces and objects placed within these spaces reflects the movements of figures of power and submission. Veronika Rudyeva-Ryazantseva raises a question whether it is possible to translate feelings and emotions into interactive signs of non-verbal human behavior. Olga Jitlina ‘translates’ politicians’ speeches into the language of the Laughers’ Choir and Egor Koshelev explores the problem of translators losing their influence as guides to the outer world of culture in the contemporary global information society.


Alexander Belov
Olga Jitlina
Egor Koshelev
Natasha Kraevskaya
Semyon Motolyanets
Emily Newman
Ilya Orlov
Anastasia Pavlitskaya
Veronika Rudyeva-Ryazantseva 

Exhibition hours: 30 June - 20 July 2014, Monday - Saturday 11:00–20:00

Tickets: free entrance

Address: Centre for Art and Music of the Vladimir Mayakovsky Library

St.Petersburg, Nevsky prospekt,20.

Info: +7(812) 233-00-40, +7(812) 670 85 30

Opening of the In Translation Exhibition:



2a, Glinki st, St Petersburg.  © National centre for contemporary arts. Developement [artinfo]. [Andrey Velikanov]'s design