Hiekka Art Museum


 Admission with Museum Card

Artistic Research in Political Occultism

The story of how Czar Nicolas II and magician Papus secretly conducted a spiritist seance aimed to prevent the revolution, and failed.

The exhibition project is based on the memoirs of the French Ambassador Maurice Paléologue, describing a secret spiritist seance by the French magician Papus and Czar Nicolas II, conducted in the Czar's residence in St. Petersburg with the aim of halting the development of the revolution. The story is told in the language of art, and this “political occultism” is examined from the standpoint of materialism through varied reflections on the topic by international artists / doctoral researchers. The exhibition is organised by the Academy of Fine Arts / University of Arts, Helsinki.

"Tuesday, November 21, 1916. At the beginning of October, 1905, Papus was sent to St. Petersburg by some of his highly-placed followers who badly needed his guidance in the formidable crisis through which Russia was then passing. The magician was immediately summoned to Tsarskoie Selo. After a summary talk with the Emperor and Empress, a great spiritualistic seance was arranged for the next day. By an intense concentration of will and a prodigious expenditure of fluid dynamism, the 'Spiritual Master' succeeded in calling up the spirit of the most pious Tsar Alexander III. In spite of the fear which clutched at his heart, Nicholas II bluntly asked his father whether he should or should not resist the current of liberalism which was threatening to overwhelm Russia. The spirit replied: 'At any cost you must crush the revolution now beginning but it will spring up again one day and its violence will be proportionate to the severity with which it is put down to-day. But what does it matter! Be brave, my son! Do not give up the struggle!' While the horrified sovereigns were reflecting on this appalling prophecy, Papus told them that his magic powers enabled him to avert the threatened catastrophe, but that the efficacy of his spells would cease the moment he himself ceased to be 'on the physical plane'. Newspapers which have recently reached us from France via the Scandinavian countries report that Papus died on the 26th October... so revolution is at hand."
Maurice Paléologue. An ambassador's memoirs. Vol. III. 1924.

Artists: Bruno Moreschi, Edvine Larssen, Gregoire Rousseau, Ilya Orlov, Jana Müller, Jyrki Siukonen, Matthew Cowan, Orens, Semyon Motolyanets, Vincent Roumagnac.

Curated by ArtAgainstCulture

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Hiekka Art Museum
Pirkankatu 6, 33210 Tampere

050 523 7251

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Admission with Museum Card
Admission with Museum Card

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