STOP THE WAR: A Statement from Alexei Knedlyakovsky and Lusine Djanyan
2014 marks the 20th Anniversary of the Manifest International Contemporary Art Biennale, with “Manifest 10” set to take place in St. Petersburg. Yet this very year Russia has engaged in acts of aggression against the independent nation of Ukraine.
In support of the integrity, independence, and self-determination of the people of Ukraine, a group of artists from Amsterdam and Dusseldorf have initiated a call for signatures to a petition urging that “Manifest” not be held as long as Russian armed forces are stationed on Ukrainian territory.
Our position and that of our colleagues in this matter is unequivocal: “We hold that to participate in cultural events in Russia at this time is to legitimize and consent to Russian aggression against the democratic nation of Ukraine.
We further fully support the call for the cancellation of “Manifest 10” and urge Russian artists to join us in this appeal.
Contemporary art benefits from the freedom of expression and must never provide cover for the authorities in a country where laws restricting that expression are allowed to exist, including laws prohibiting ‘homosexual propaganda’, laws prohibiting ‘giving offense to religion’, and others. “Manifest 10”, if held in Russia, risks becoming another “Sochi 2014” - in brief, another “triumph” of this Russian government. A government which jails artists for their art. A government which permits religious fanatics to ransack exhibition spaces. A government intent on eliminating even the tiniest pockets of free, progressive culture.
Alexei Knedlyakovsky (Moscow), and Lusine Djanyan (Krasnodar), artists