Vera & Donald Blinken Open Society Archives
The exhibition focuses on Stalin`s death, the mourning ceremony, the funeral and the fate of Stalin`s remnants afterwards. The exhibition does not want to deal extensively with the Stalinist personal cult, it`s role in the Soviet political system, and it's visual representation (mass propaganda, socialist realist art, etc.). Our task is to reconstruct the long moment of the dictator`s death - from the official announcement of his physical collapse until the replacement of his embalmed corps from the mausoleum. Stalin was the ultimate embodiment of a regime in symbolic as well as in a physical sense. The exhibit aims at presenting and analysing the effect of the vanishing of his figure on the public, and also the problems his decease raised for the regime and for his successors.
Besides the usual historical sources, (press and archival documents from US, Russain, German and Hungarian archives), the audio-visual representation, the sounds, the images and the music will have an exceptional role in our reconstruction. The exhibit will show the images and sounds related to dictator`s death from different regions of the world.
The co-organisers of the exhibition are: State Archives of the Russian Federation, Moscow; State Archives of the Georgian Republic, Tiflis, Georgia; Bundesarchiv, Germany; DeutschlandRadio, Germany; Akademie der Künste, Germany; National Security Archives, Washington DC, USA.
"For the sake of our own times, it may be fruitful to recall a moment, even a failed one, when art was considered more than a separate aesthetic experience, when the only view of music was not solely for art's sake, when mere formalism did not triumph, and when the making of art was an important part of an engagement with the well being of an entire nation."