Manifesta, the European Biennial of Contemporary Art, is a migratory biennial which aims to reflect critically on Europe‘s changing cultural DNA. The eleventh edition of Manifesta, located in Zurich and titled What People Do for Money: Some Joint Ventures, has been curated by German artist Christian Jankowski. Manifesta 11 is composed of various parts: the 30 new projects in the satellites as well as in Löwenbräukunst and Helmhaus, which are the result of encounters between artists and their ‘hosts‘ (people from different professional fields); The Historical Exhibition: Sites Under Construction, also in the art institutions; the Pavillon of Reflections, where the entire project will be reflected in a filmic form; and Cabaret der Künstler – Zunfthaus Voltaire, a stage for joint-venture performances and home of the newly founded artists‘ guild.
The host city Zurich offers the necessary points of friction for Manifesta to explore current issues facing modern Europe in a specifically urban context – just as it is said in its mission statement. Although the city on the Limmat river is not, like many of its predecessors, on Europe’s periphery, this leading European and interna- tional financial and business hub is located in a country which, with its isolationist policies, represents a political island, in the core of Europe – of all places, at a vital interface between North, South East and West.
Manifesta was conceived in the early 1990s as a nomadic, European biennial of contemporary art, responding to the new social, cultural and political reality that emerged in the aftermath of the Cold War. Following a desire to explore the psychological and geographical territory of Europe and to provide a dynamic platform for cultural exchange throughout the region, it takes place every two years in a different European city. Along with the Venice Biennale and documenta in Kassel, Manifesta is one of the foremost art events in Europe.
Since 1996, Manifesta has taken place in Rotterdam, Luxembourg, Ljubljana, Frankfurt, Donostia/San Sebastián, Trentino–South Tyrol, Murcia, Genk and most recently St. Petersburg. Over the course of ten biennials and twenty years, more than 2.5 millions people have visited Manifesta’s events and participated in its programs. It has successfully presented artists, curators and young professionals from as many as forty different countries, and in each edition continues to innovate and reimagine contemporary art practices. The eleventh edition will be hosted by the city of Zurich and will run from 11 June until 18 September 2016