SIGNAL – THE ART OF NOW is a site specific project which integrated the work of more than fifty artists into the structure of a defunct design bureau. 1000 square meters of post-Soviet space were turned into an encyclopedia of contemporary St Petersburg art. The title SIGNAL is a tribute to the former design bureau ‘Signal’ and a short-lived event, exploring the state of the independent Petersburg contemporary art scene.
Artists of various generations were placed into a dense space: if the older generation found a familiar nostalgic atmosphere in the territory of the design bureau, then the younger generation of artists unaffected by Soviet memories attempted to feel out signs of hope in the ruination. The exhibition became an opportunity to compare different systems of perceiving the world. New ideas emerged during the constantly changing exhibition, inter-disciplinary, inter-generational blocs appeared and fell apart creating a living model of contemporary art.
The SIGNAL exhibition was a characteristic example of self-organisation by artists. By default it became a project in the ‘perpendicular’ program of Manifesta as, located outside of any institution, it came together at the time of the biennale opening and became the only space in the city where it was possible to see contemporary St Petersburg art.
The main criteria of the exhibition were the trust between the participants and the desire to make an artistic statement in harmony with a place and a situation. The SIGNAL sounded, showing the depth of meaning which the artists found and supporting the idea of the freedom and unpredictability of art.