16 Tons
17 Tons: Memory as practice
17 Tons: Memory as practice
2012 Architects & Refunc
Aesthetics of Pollution
Alexandrov, Grigori
Almarcegui, Lara
Amalrik, Leonid, Dmitri Babichenko & ...
Amorales, Carlos
Anthoine, Roger
Apóstol, Alexander
Art Salon | Artist Talk ...
Artwork Entry
Ashington Group, The
Auden, W. H. [Wystan Hugh]
Becher, Bernd & Hilla
Beehive Design Collective
Ben Cain: About his research
Ben Cain: Audience and Interaction
Ben Cain: Physical aspects of ...
Bevierre, Olivier
Biscotti, Rossella
Bissill, George
Boltanski, Christian
Boom, Irma & Johan Pijnappel
Brandt, Bill
Britten, Benjamin
Broodthaers, Marcel
Buckle, Janet
Burtynsky, Edward
Cain, Ben
Campbell, Duncan
Carboniferous Landscapes
Cinematek Brussels
Claire Fontaine
Claus, Emile
Coal Face, 1935
Cobb, Francis William
Contemporary Art
Cornish, Norman
Crises of Capitalism
Cuauhtémoc Media (Chief Curator Manifesta ...
Cvijanovic, Nemanja
Cycles of Realism
Dark Matter
Dawn Ades: Coal as a ...
Daykin, Gilbert
de Loutherbourg, Philippe Jacques
Deller, Jeremy
Demuth, Charles
Douard, Cécile
Duchamp, Marcel
Durán, Manuel
Edgar Hermans about the Heritage ...
Embroidered Sayings
Epics of Redundancy
Ernst, Max
European Civilisation
Furlan, Tomaž
Garden Cities
Geers, Kendell
Geerts, Paul
Goldin+ Senneby
Granata, Rocco
Gronbach, Eva
Grubic, Igor
Guillaumin, Armand
Habex, Jan
Hair, Thomas Harrison
Hammons, David
Hanging the Manifesta 9 Flag
Harrison, Tony
Harskamp, Nicoline van
Hedwig Fijen: The idea behind ...
Herman, Josef
Heslop, Robert
Hüner, Emre
Industrial Revolution
Interview: Ante Timmermans
Ivens, Joris & Henri Storck
Izquierdo, Jota
Jafri, Maryam
Jitrik, Magdalena
Kaliski, Kevin
Karikis, Mikhail & Uriel Orlow
Kessels, Willy
Kilbourn, Oliver
Klutsis, Gustav
Konijnenberg, Willem Adriaan van
Konrad, Aglaia
Kozakis, Nicolas & Raoul Vaneigem
Kuai Shen
Landscape: From the Picturesque to ...
Landscape: From the Picturesque to ...
Leck, Bart van der
Lieshout, Erik van
Linde Hermans: Scenography of Manifesta ...
Livrets des ouvriers mineurs du ...
Long, Richard
Luce, Maximilien
Luque, Manuel
Maciá, Oswaldo
Manifesta 9
Manifesta Journal 13: Conversation between ...
Martin, John
Masereel, Frans
Mass-Observation movement
Matthys, Michaël
McCullin, Don
McGuinness, Tom
Meunier, Constantin
Michaël Matthys about La Ville ...
Mieke Mels (Curatorial Assistant) about ...
Mies van der Rohe, Ludwig
Mining Machine
Monko, Marge
Moore, Henry
Munby, Arthur
Museum of the Miner’s House, ...
Newcomen Colliery Winding Engine
News from the Graveyard: On ...
Ni, Haifeng
Nostalgia and Its Discontents
Origins of Manifesta
Pabst, Georg Wilhelm
Paulus de Châtelet, Pierre
Perlee Parker, Henry
Poetics of Restructuring
Portrait of Spyros Roumeliotis and ...
Prayer Mats
Preparation of the Building
Promo Video
Raqs Media Collective
Rittase, William
Robinson, William Heath
Rocco Granata about 'Marina'
Saint Barbara
Schlingelhoff, Bea
Selander, Lina
Sime, Sidney
Smithson, Robert
Smoke, Colours and Loans
Soi, Praneet
Soviet propaganda
Stella, Joseph
Sutherland, Graham Vivien
The Age of Coal: An ...
The Legacy of Manifesta
The Mine Depot, Waterschei
Timmermans, Ante
Tomaszewski, Yan
Torfs, Ana
Underground as Hell
Underground, Models of the
Vanden Eynde, Maarten
Vandersteen, Willy
Vega Macotela, José Antonio
Venet, Bernar
Vercheval, Georges
Vermeir, Katleen & Ronny Heiremans
VIDEO: Kuai Shen
Video: manifesta 9 symposium on ...
VIDEO: Marge Monko - Nora's ...
VIDEO: Raqs Media Collective - ...
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VIDEO:Oswaldo Maciá - Martinete
Visible Solutions, LLC
Waterschei Planning Archive
Woods, Paolo
Zola, Émile
Zwartberg drama

EN / nl

The Legacy of Manifesta

What is Manifesta, the European biennial of Contemporary Art? 
Hedwig Fijen

The origins of Manifesta as an international art event are embedded in the social and political changes, which occurred in the 1990s in Europe. Manifesta’s legacy is rooted in the time-frame of a politically unbalanced situation, before the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 reunited the previously separated East and West. Manifesta was initiated in the early 1990s by fifteen European countries and their national arts councils, who no longer accepted that artistic practices from different parts of Europe could be detached from one another. Since Manifesta is the only roving biennial, changing its location every two years and not focusing on the concept of the art biennial as a representative, formatted event, Manifesta constantly needs to re-examine its original mandate. It responds to the changing dimensions of the artistic, social-cultural and political framework in which it operates. It reassesses the role that a biennial is able to play in ultra-peripheral or contested areas in Europe, and in its neighbouring countries. Maintaining a flexible structure, constantly adapting to changing geo-political parameters, Manifesta’s mission has proved to be an immense challenge for a variety of reasons. The East-West focus in the 1990s has transformed into a need to better facilitate North-South dialogue, reflecting the current changes within a European/global hierarchy. Dialogues with other continents have been established to research and understand the failing position of Europe in a worldwide context. Part of its strength is that Manifesta needs to prove itself as an ‘existential emergency’ (formulate differently...) every two years. From the beginning, a multitude of objectives has been fundamental, particularly artistic independence, technical excellence, inventive curating formats and the inclusion of diverse audiences. This was based on the development of innovative mediation systems, combined with a small, full-time administration. The need to change the focus from aesthetic concerns to production processes, and even art mediation, was strongly felt through all channels during the first decade of Manifesta’s existence. Since 1996, a big group of emerging curators has embarked on their experimental careers with Manifesta, while more than 600 interdisciplinary artists from dozens of nations were invited to conceive new works, often free from the constraints of the art market. Nevertheless, we are aware of the recent, strong push to shift the focus from purely artistic practices to a more extensive program targeting a wider audience, although Manifesta has never seen public attendance figures as its overriding priority. At the same time, Manifesta has taken its stance against nationalism, commercialism and the idea of the biennial being “hijacked” as a leisure event of readymade culture. A crucial part of the discourse of Manifesta is how, where and when Manifesta has succeeded or failed in its consecutive attempts to address Europe’s role as an open, inclusive society and a new multi-cultural entity. Based on the original parameters Manifesta set itself in the 1990s, what has worked and what has not? Manifesta seeks to identify those inter-cultural collaborations and social changes it has truly initiated on local, regional and international levels, plotting its role as an alternative, roving enterprise to study the DNA of Europe in its entirety. Did the transformation of power after the fall of the Berlin Wall really create an open climate for cultural exchange? Or was this simply the start of other political, monetary and governance conflicts, steered by rapid changes and imbalances in media, technology and ecology, affecting the global equilibrium? Even more so, is such a visible biennial/institution like Manifesta the ideal, semi-public platform for the circulation of creative ideas by artists and curators, beyond the constraints of the commercial market? Biennials help to measure the originality of an idea by spotlighting it on a stage. From the start Manifesta employed a system of critical self-assessment to investigate the role and significance of its artistic and social practices. Through critical workshops (the Manifesta Coffee Breaks) and publications like Manifesta Journal and Manifesta Decade Book, Manifesta takes peer-reviewing and interactive criticism very seriously. It is willing to illustrate this by changing modalities, in opposition to authoritarian and prevailing consumerist models of ‘the blockbuster show’. Manifesta always invests strongly in artistic research, in terms of exhibition-making, developing new modes to commission site-specific works and its capacity to train young professionals. At the same time, it has acted as a protagonist and a stimulus for regional artistic life, radiating energy between local administrations, cities and the biennial itself, so that the latter can function as a catalyst for change. There is no prototype of how a Manifesta edition works, since this depends on a multitude of parameters, conditions, expectations and production processes. Today, cultural funding systems are suffering as a result of the economic crisis in Europe. Due to a reassessment of the notion of biennials in general, Manifesta envisions new models in which it re-identifies our support structure through a combination of public and private funding. The biennial as an exhibition model might even be dated. Current demands by host cities and international partners seek the potential to turn the biennial into an art school, or to make Manifesta’s professional network and know-how available to a broader public in the non-Western art world. The need and ability to link the biennial to the locality and its history is a priority. The importance of local research is revealed by Manifesta’s seriousness in its selection of Host Cities and curatorial candidates for each edition and each team. Recent editions of Manifesta have set out to give visibility to local, regional and national factors concerning history, social issues and political autonomy, reflected in the exhibition concept.