For Jasmina Cibic, every film project sees this artist researcher delving into the archives, the accounts recorded there as well as the silences, in order to reveal the attitudes of all forms of power – whether state, government, party political or diplomatic – towards the
For the exhibition Stagecraft, Jasmina Cibic has brought together several years of research into political gifting of culture, which she unravels as the centrefold of the exhibition at macLYON in her film The Gift.
This film features several emblematic buildings, including the French Communist Party Headquarters in Paris, the Palace of Nations in Geneva, the Palace of Culture and Science in Warsaw and Mount Buzludzha in Bulgaria, all of which, in their collections and architecture, constitute gifts in their own right and have a profoundly established artistic vocabulary entirely at the service of political dramaturgy.
This project by Jasmina Cibic is part of her research into the notion of soft power, which was the basis of her exhibition for the Slovenian pavilion at the 2013 Venice Biennale.
Curator: Matthieu Lelièvre
Co-commissioned and co-produced by macLYON; FLAMIN − Film London Artists’ Moving Image Network with funding from Arts Council England and steirischer herbst ‘19; co-producers Waddington Studios London. Supported by Muzeum Sztuki in Łódź; Cooper Gallery DJCAD, University of Dundee; Northern Film School; UGM Maribor Art Gallery; United Nations, Geneva; Espace Niemeyer, Paris and Palace of Youth, Warsaw.
The exhibition Stagecraft unfolds across half of the second floor of the macLYON. Visitors can access it after having discovered the highly theatrical and scripted universe of Delphine Balley.
Jasmina Cibic conceives her exhibition projects as a form of total art and includes the immediate environment of her films in a continuous dialogue between the scenography, the films and the objects intended to construct the narrative.
The exhibition and its entire arrangement form a stage destined to decompose and recompose the spectacle of political power.
This is why visitors first enter the space via a long corridor, where the luminous partitioned ceiling is constructed from motifs that immediately plunge them into the atmosphere of a Modernist performance.
The corridor leads onto the first room, which reproduces and transposes the environment of Béla Bartók’s pantomime ballet The Miraculous Mandarin—which premiered at the Cologne Opera in 1926—as it was reproduced in 1958 in Brussels. The constructed elements, and a symbolic stage, with sculptures and spaces that can be activated by performers, make up the display area, providing the decor with a sculptural status, thereby symbolizing the very principle of Stagecraft.
Jasmina Cibic simultaneously plays here, as in her film, with various time frames (created in the 1920s, this ballet has had numerous choreographic versions), in order to put into perspective a series of paradoxes relating to the relationship between the arts and political power. She also makes use of allegories to stage her analysis of history and political codes.
The exhibition continues in the large room dominated by three big screens, on which the film The Gift is shown. A large bench invites viewers to sit and immerse themselves in this 27-minute artistic and rhetorical journey.
The Gift is the result of extensive documentary research and a shooting schedule that spanned three years, several countries and numerous international collaborations. Jasmina Cibic conceives this experimental film and the archival research that forms its base, as a global project brought to life in a collaborative and international production of exhibitions, screenings and editions.
She sees this project as a means of resistance in the face of the decay of international inter-European relations and the rise of nationalism.
At the macLYON, The Gift is presented in its final form to the public for the first time.
A catalog, illustrated with exhibition's views and specially commissioned texts, will be published.
Watch our exhibition teaser: