Peter Haerle, Director Cultural Affairs City of Zürich; Hedwig Fijen, Manifesta Founder and director of Manifesta 11; Christian Jankowski, Curator Manifesta 11 during the prees conference on 29.9.2015 at Seebad Enge in Zürich
Photo (c) Livio Baumgartner


Hedwig Fijen, Christian Jankowski

In the summer of 2016, the City of Zurich will host the eleventh edition of the Manifesta Biennial. It is the first time in the history of Manifesta that an artist, Christian Jankowski, has been named as curator. Under the title “What People Do For Money: Some Joint Ventures“ artists will be brought together with a range of representatives from various Zurich-based professions. The result will be about 35 new productions, which will be shown from June 2016 over 100 days at various locations, some of them very unusual, and at the respective workplaces.
At the same time, the Löwenbräukunst-Areal (Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst, LUMA Westbau / POOL etc. and Kunsthalle Zürich), the Cabaret Voltaire and the Helmhaus will function as central exhibition venues. The core of the exhibition is the “Pavillon of Reflections”, a floating platform on Lake Zurich, which was erected for Manifesta 11 near Bellevue. This is where people can experience close up the crucial moments in the creation of the artworks, as recorded on film.

Posted 22 February 2016

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Manifesta, the European Biennial of Contemporary Art, was founded in 1993 by Hedwig Fijen from the Netherlands and holds its exhibitions at different locations every time. Each edition responds to the diversity of social, political and geographical conditions in today’s Europe. A Europe that finds itself in crisis, more so than ever before, as demonstrated by the current debates surrounding the economy and migration. Ever since the first edition of Manifesta 20 years ago, the initiators have always placed the emphasis on critical thought, scientific research and artistic expe rimentation.
Its high standards of mediation and comprehensive support programme also ensure a dialogue with young people interested in art. The “Parallel Events” held in conjunction with each edition invited established artistic and cultural platforms from the city and surrounding region to take part in a joint framework programme.
The scene of Manifesta 11 is the City of Zurich, the heart of a dynamic and everchanging urbanity. The Manifesta in Zurich 2016 complements the festivities marking the centenary of Dada with a contemporary, international and visionary dimension.
Manifesta aims to explore how new audience groups can be sensitised and won over for contemporary art and culture in Zurich today. Once a basically agricultural country, Switzerland and with it, Zurich, have developed into an international centre of finance and service. Hardly any other city has been influenced as much by trade and busi ness activities as Zurich, which is historically characterised by Protestantism. To what extent do professions leave their mark on one’s own identity? What standing does one’s own profession have in today’s society and culture?
Christian Jankowski’s Concept
For the first time in its history, the concept for Manifesta 11 is being drawn up by an ar tist – as opposed to a curator or team of curators. In this capacity, which is also new to him, Christian Jankowski, who became known for his actions as a video and conceptual artist, brings together artists and representatives of diverse professional groups. The production of art and its presentation are to be integrated in the broad spectrum that is the working world of Zurich. Jankowski’s curatorial concept is based on three principles which are also central to his artistic investigations: collaborations, the inclusion of audience groups from outside the usual circles of art-loving public and the reflection of mass-media formats.
The Artists’ Way of Working
To this day, the majority of invited artists are those who will produce new works for Manifesta 11. They may draw inspiration from local representatives of trades and professions and, using existing materials and methodologies, develop new contributions to the biennial. The artists “help themselves“ to various aspects of diverse trades, their processes and protagonists as artistic material. Police officers, meteorologists and dentists will become hosts and help the artist in the creative process.
John Arnold: One Example
For Manifesta 11, the American artist and designer John Arnold is planning a collaboration with his host Fabian Spiquel, 1-star Michelin chef from the Maison Manesse, aimed at reinterpreting dishes that were served at state banquets which were of great importance to Switzerland. These culinary creations will be served at a range of the existing “Imbisse” (take-aways and snack bars) in Zurich, which the artist has renamed “Imbissies”. The origins of this idea are to be found in the English word “Embassy“ and the German term “Imbiss“. Through the simple act of sharing a meal, they will build a bridge between diverse social levels: the “Imbissadores” and their regular customers will be brought together with official employees of embassies, leading to new forms of multi-lateral diplomacy.
The “Pavillon of Reflections”
The centrepiece of the mediatization and reflection of all artistic new productions is the “Pavillon of Reflections”, a floating, multi-functional platform with a giant LED screen, spectator stand, swimming pool and bar, which was conceived by Manifesta 11 and was designed and is being realised by the ETH Zurich under the direction of Professor Tom Emerson and his students. In the daytime, the “Pavillon of Reflections” will function as a public baths and meeting place; in the evening, it will be a place in which to reflect on the presented artworks. Films will be shown which record the processes by which the new works are created but also accompany the resulting exhibitions and vernissages. Film teams from the Zürcher Hochschule der Künste (ZHdK) will document key moments in the production phase. These contributions will be moderated by high-school students from Zurich, who will accompany Manifesta 11 as “art detectives”.
Exhibition venues at Manifesta 11
For Manifesta 11, the presentation of art will be integrated in various locations from Zurich’s working world: places in the city and locations in which the respective hosts carry out their professions will be involved. The actual main exhibition, spread over well-known Zurich institutions - the Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst , the LUMA Westbau / POOL etc. , the Kunsthalle Zürich  and the Helmhaus  – will be divided up into “theme chambers“. They, too, will be part of the artistic portrayal of the various professions. A pendant to the newly produced artworks will also be on display at the main exhibition venues.
Over the 100-day duration of Manifesta, the biennial will take over the offices and rooms of the Cabaret Voltaire  and will radically alter their programmes and architecture. This will take place in co-operation with the assistant professor Dr. Alexander Lehnerer of the ETH. In the centenary year, Christian Jankowski will declare the birthplace of Dada the guild house of the artists. “Cabaret of the Artists – Guild House Voltaire” will thus become Zurich’s 27th and latest guild house. As in all guild houses, entry will require membership, which can only be acquired by actively exercising an artistic activity in the form of a “Joint Venture Performance”. Here, too, dialogue and co-operation between artist and professional are also essential outside the usual art business. /
Initiated by
Honorary Board Manifesta 11
Charles Beer, President of the Arts Council Pro Helvetia; Alain Berset, Federal Councillor; Ricardo Cabanas; Charlotte von Koerber; Bice Curiger, Chief Editor of Parkett; Roger de Weck, Director General of SRG SSR; Jaqueline Fehr, Councillor of the Canton of Zurich; Hedy Graber, Head of the Department of Cultural and Social Affairs Migros; Prof. Michael Hengartner, Rector of the UZH University of Zurich; Thomas Hirschhorn; Michael Kuenzle, Mayor of the City of Winterthur; Anne Elisabeth Luwema, Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands; Corine Mauch, Mayor of the City of Zurich; Prof. Dr. Thomas D. Meier; Rector of the ZHdK Zurich University of the Arts; Marcel Meili, Marcel Meili, Markus Peter Architekten AG; Carmen Walker Späh, Economic Director of the Canton of Zurich; Brigitte Wehrli-Schindler
About Manifesta
Manifesta is a foundation headquartered in Amsterdam. The establishment of Manifesta goes back to the early 1990s and their radical economic and social changes, which followed the era of the Cold War and began the formation of a new European identity. Manifesta has since become a European platform, which, through intensive research into its own location and the production of new artworks, has established a dialogue between international and local players about questions of art and society in Europe. Manifesta counts - next to documenta in Kassel and the Venice Biennial - as the foremost European art exhibitions and recently received the EFFE Award as outstandingly trend-setting festival in Europe. From exhibitions and performances to multi-media experiments and radio and TV programme: Manifesta always emphasizes critical thought, scientific research and artistic experimentation. To achieve this, it has involved artists and groups of artists from various backgrounds and nationalities in the intensive two years of preparation in the run-up to each edition.
Host Cities
Manifesta 1, Rotterdam (Netherlands, 1996)
Manifesta 2, Luxembourg, (Luxembourg, 1998)
Manifesta 3, Ljubljana (Slovenia, 2000)
Manifesta 4, Frankfurt (Germany, 2002)
Manifesta 5, Donostia-San-Sebastián (Spain, 2004)
Manifesta 6, Nicosia (Cyprus, 2006 – cancelled)
Manifesta 7, Trentino-Alto Adige (Italy, 2008)
Manifesta 8, Cartagena (Spain, 2010)
Manifesta 9, Genk-Limburg (Belgium, 2012)
Manifesta 10, St. Petersburg (Russia, 2014)
Manifesta 11, Zurich (Switzerland, 2016)
Manifesta 12, Palermo (Italy, 2018)
CV Hedwig Fijen, Manifesta Director
Hedwig Fijen was born in the Netherlands and studied History and History of Art at the University of Amsterdam. She is founding director of Manifesta, the European Biennial of Contemporary art, since its origin in Rotterdam in 1993. Fijen is in charge of all aspects of the Manifesta organization including the selection of Host cities, thematic content and the curatorial selection. The final execution of the concept of the curators is her responsibility. Under Fijen’s direction Manifesta has been developed into the fourth most influential biennial in the world. Over this period, Fijen has vastly expanded Manifesta’s operations with theoretical and educational projects including the Manifesta Journal, Manifesta Publications and the Manifesta Coffee breaks.
CV Christian Jankowski, Manifesta 11 Curator
Christian Jankowski (Goettingen, 1968) studied at the University of Fine Arts in
Hamburg (Germany). In his artistic actions and media artworks, he makes use of film, video, and photography, but also painting, sculpture, and installation. Jankowski‘s work consists of performative interactions between himself and non-art professionals, between contemporary art and the so-called ‚world outside of art‘. During the course of his artistic career, Jankowski has collaborated with magicians, politicians, news anchors, and members of the Vatican, to name just a few. Jankowski registers these performative collaborations using the mass media formats in which he stages his work––film, photography, television, newspapers. This procedure lends his work its populist appeal.Jankowski‘s work can be seen both as a reflection, deconstruction, and a critique of a society based on spectacle. In his view, art has turned into a spectacle, and as a result, has undermined its critical potential.

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