Ce n’est pas un sauveur

Introduction to Literary and Cultural Analysis Course 2022

The Hermitage of Amsterdam severed its ties to Russia because of differing ideologies, and we used this as a point of departure to display and play with the (grand) narratives surrounding this museum.

“He is not a saviour” poster utilizes postmodern philosophy to unfold the role language plays in ideology construction, and encourages to reflect upon how it influences the power relations. Similar to René Magritte’s work on language that challenges the concepts of originality and representation, our poster focuses on the construction of grand narratives, binaries that these narratives dictate, and the rigid constrictions that follow these binaries. Hence, we decided to  make a homage to Magritte’s work. We chose specifically the word “saviour” as we wanted to look at this poster through the eyes of an average resident of Russia who is a part of a huge dictatorship mechanism and language-game, who undergoes  Russian propaganda. “Saviour” in a modern Russian reality is a part of the binary “saviour/abuser” that Russian media disseminates. By saying that “he is not a saviour”, we both deconstruct the black and white lens of this grand narrative and point out that the concepts of hero and enemy are socially constructed representations that don’t align with reality.

The third of March, 2022, was the date when there came an end to the collaboration between the Hermitage of St.-Petersburg and Hermitage Amsterdam, due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The Hermitage of Amsterdam severed its ties to Russia because of differing ideologies, and we used this as a point of departure to display and play with the (grand) narratives surrounding this museum. We achieved this by reinterpreting René Magritte’s famous ‘La trahison des images’, replacing the Pipe with Putin, and rephrasing ‘Ceci n’est pas une pipe’ as ‘Ce n’est pas un Sauveur’ in a meme-like image.