Artist Christian Jankowski Appointed Chief Curator For Manifesta 11

Manifesta, the roving European Biennial of Contemporary art has appointed Berlin based Artist Christian Jankowski as Chief Curator for Manifesta 11.  Hosted in Zurich, Switzerland in 2016, Jankowski will start working in November 2014 towards conceptualizing the 11th edition of Manifesta.

“As Chair of the M11 Curatorial Selection Committee*, it gives me great pleasure to announce that German artist Christian Jankowski has been selected as the Manifesta 11 Chief Curator. For the first time in Manifesta’s history, an individual artist will take the position of Chief Curator and will work on a project for an entire urban environment. Jankowski will investigate the whole array of art’s authorship, its production and its reflection on Zurich’s professional landscape. In doing so, Manifesta 11’s Chief Curator approaches the complex identities of the city in an unexpected way, reaching out to audiences beyond the inner circle of contemporary art biennials.” Hedwig Fijen, Manifesta Director

Christian Jankowski (Göttingen, 1968) studied at the University of Fine Arts in Hamburg (Germany) and is currently based in Berlin. 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.

Manifesta, the European Biennial of Contemporary Art, selected the City of Zurich as Manifesta 11 Host for 2016. Zurich offered the opportunity for Manifesta to research an urban environment for the first time. Manifesta 11 in Zurich means that the complex and rapidly changing identity of the city will be the object of close curatorial examination.

Zurich evolved in a relatively short period of time from a rural area into a global centre of finance. Both globalised and inwardly focused, the exhibition will investigate Zurich’s specific history while proactively seeking dialogue with the international and European communities. The role of Switzerland within the European history of art, as well as the history of its position in Europe in the 19th and 20th century will be other crucial aspects of the concept.

Manifesta was initiated in response to the new social, cultural and political reality that emerged in the aftermath of the Cold War. 2016 marks a new era of Manifesta, as the biennial enters its second decade. Similarly, the historically significant Dada Movement will be celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2016, providing a unique opportunity for Zurich to explore its cultural history.

Christian Jankowski has participated in numerous solo and group exhibitions, and his work is in the collection of numerous international museums. Recent solo exhibitions include: Heavy Weight History, CCA Ujazdowski Castle, Warsaw (2013); Llorando por La Marcha de la Humanidad, Sala de Arte Público Siqueiros, Mexico City (2012); Casting Jesus, MARCO, Rome (2012); The Finest Art on Water, Frieze Art Fair, London (2011); Now For Something Completely Different, BAWAG Foundation, Vienna (2009); and Dienstbesprechung, Kunstmuseum Stuttgart (2008). Jankowski participated in the Venice Biennale in 1999 and 2013 as well as in the 2002 Whitney Biennial. Jankowski started his artistic career as a curator of his own independent space, Friedensallee 12, in Hamburg in the period 1992-1996.

Manifesta 11 is an initiative of the Manifesta Foundation in Amsterdam and the City of Zurich. A press conference announcing Christian Jankowski as Manifesta 11 Chief Curator will take place on 11 December 2014 at 9:30am in Zurich, Switzerland.

* The M11 Curatorial Selection Committee consisted of Hedwig Fijen, Gijs van Tuyl, Mirjam Varadinis, Cuauhtemoc Medina, Barbara Basting, Heike Munder, Christoph Doswald and Martin Heller.

Manifesta, the roving European Biennial of Contemporary art, changes it location every two years – Rotterdam (1996), Luxembourg (1998),  Ljubljana(2000), Frankfurt (2002), San Sebastian (2004), Nicosia (2006 – cancelled), Trentino-South Tyrol (2008), Murcia in dialogue with  northern Africa (2010) and Limburg (2012). Manifesta purposely strives to keep its distance from what are often seen as the dominant centres of artistic  production, instead seeking fresh and fertile terrain for the mapping of a new cultural topography. This includes innovations in curatorial  practices, exhibition models and education. Each Manifesta biennial aims to investigate and reflect on emerging developments in  contemporary art, set within a European context. In doing so, we present local, national and international audiences with new aspects and  forms of artistic expression.

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