29.11.2014 - 15.02.2015

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Program: [Contemporary art and contemporary society]

The State Hermitage Museum

National Centre for Contemporary Arts (NCCA)

with the support of

the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation

as part of the 250th anniversary of the State Hermitage Museum


"Ekphrasis" exhibition

November 29, 2014 - February 15, 2015

Opening: November 28, 2014 at 2 p.m.

The word Ekphrasis is derived from the Ancient Greek verb meaning “proclaim, express”. Ekphrasis in art history is a device referring to a description of a work of art or architecture in a text. Culturally, this means that one medium of art is reproduced in another.

The present exhibition, prepared to mark the museum’s anniversary by the State Hermitage Department of Contemporary Art jointly with the National Centre for Contemporary Arts, focuses on the functioning of ekphrasis in modern video. The object of study in this case is the museum itself with its unique origins and social functions. A museum today is a complex organism which does far more than simply “store and study works of art”. A modern museum is enmeshed in a complicated structure of various social, cultural, and economic ties. The museum requires special behavioural rituals and prescribes to its visitors specific, rigidly defined ways of “consuming” art. But a museum seen by a modern artist is something else: an architectural monument, an educational platform, a research centre, a medium of amassing a historical memory, and an eternal space of dialogue between visitor, art, and artist.

How can a museum be described in the fullness of its various functions? In the works on display, an artist’s view becomes an instrument of studying the ways of interaction between the visitor, the museum, art, and its creator. The videos played at the exhibition are an example of ekphrasis: a description of the museum based on the works of art on display in it. It is commonly believed that in the dialogue between a contemporary artist and the museum, the museum always wins out because the artist is mortal and will eventually be bound by the museum’s historic walls. The Ekphrasis Project demonstrates that the artist may well have the last word as the one responsible for carefully building the image of the museum that will be preserved in history.

Curator: Dmitry Ozerkov, director of the Contemporary art department at the State Hermitage Museum "Hermitage XX/XXI"

Address: The General Staff building of The State Hermitage Museum, Dvortsovaya square, 6-8

Opening hours: Tuesday, Thursday – Sunday: 10.30-18.00, Wednesday: 10.30-21.00, Closed: Mondays

Tel: (812) 710 95 02 (the Hermitage Press Office), (812) 670 85 30 (NCCA, North-Western branch)



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