Manifesta 11, The European Biennial of Contemporary Art, Zurich

Manifesta’s 11th edition, hosted by the city of Zurich, runs throughout the summer until 18 September. The nomadic European festival was initiated in response to the new social, political and cultural reality that emerged in the aftermath of the Cold War and provides a dynamic platform for cultural exchange throughout the region.

Over the course of 20 years, the biennial has presented artists, curators and young professionals to over 2.5 million visitors from 40 different countries, taking place in Rotterdam, Luxembourg, Ljubljana, Frankfurt, Donostia/San Sebastián, Trentino–South Tyrol, Murcia, Genk and most recently St. Petersburg. In 2016, Zurich has been chosen as the first urban city host by the International Foundation Manifesta for its wealth of Swiss design and rich cultural roots including Dadaism, which was established in the city 100 years ago.

The German artist, Christian Jankowski, has been chosen as the first Chief Curator of Manifesta. The multimedia curator, whose experience lies in the disciplines of video, instillation, film, photography, painting and sculpture, utilises his performative interactions with non-art professionals including magicians, politicians, news anchors and members of the Vatican. Manifesta 11’s theme What People Do for Money: Some Joint Ventures, focuses on the relationship between artistic work and labour. Each artist producing a new commission at the biennial first chooses a profession practised in Zurich and is then paired with a professional to work with. This concept draws people from outside the art world and brings art to wider audiences.

Manifesta 11 is held across several art institutions including Löwenbräukunst, Helmhaus, Cabaret der Künstler and various satellite locations across Zurich. The Historical Exhibitions: Sites Under Construction is a series of existing artworks and non-art materials installed on scaffolding co-curated by Francesca Gavin, offering a diverse perspective on the relationship between art and professions. Art Detectives (2016) – a film documenting school students who accompanied and questioned artists and hosts as they produced works – will be screened on the purpose-built open-air cinema and swimming pool raft, the Pavilion of Reflections. Parallel events continues to accompany Manifesta, highlighting various aspects of the local and regional art scenes and creating a dialogue between them and the biennial.

Manifesta 11, until 18 September, venues across Zurich.

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1. Pavillon Of Reflections by Wolfhang Traeger. Copyright: Manifesta 11.