The Storming of the Winter Palace: Forensics of an Image

25. November 2017 - 08. April 2018 Dortmunder U, 6th Floor


In 2017 the October Revolution will have its hundredth anniversary. On this occasion, the project The Storming of the Winter Palace: Forensics of an Image will be dedicated to the photograph that has become the symbol of that revolution more than any other: The Storming of the Winter Palace. The photograph is not, however, of the historical event itself but rather of a theatrical enactment of it. In 1920 the Russian stage director and drama theorist Nikolai Evreinov was commissioned to reenact the taking of the Winter Palace for the third anniversary of the revolution. The storming itself had never occurred in the form presented here. And yet a photograph of a theatrical event became a 'historical document'.

The exhibition The Storming of the Winter Palace: Forensics of an Image presents all of the surviving images of the reenactment of 1920 (a film, ca. 75 photographs) and the process of the photograph becoming a 'document' in the Soviet historiography in illustrated volumes, textbooks, newspaper reporting, and exhibitions. In addition to a meticulous reconstruction of the scene of the photograph, contemporary artists have been invited to produce new works that respond to or comment on Evreinov and address the themes of history, memory, reenactment, and repetition.

The exhibition was awarded with the Justus Bier Prize for Curators 2018.


Design: Nathow & Geppert, Bielefeld, / Exhibition scenography: Thibaut de Ruyter, Berlin

Co-operation partner

Universität Zürich (CH)


Gessnerallee, Zürich (CH), Muzeum Sztuki, Lodz (PL)

Media partner


Funded by:

Kulturstiftung des Bundes

Ministerium für Kultur und Wissenschaft des Landes NRW
Swiss National Science Foundation



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