Manifesta 13 Director Hedwig Fijen Announces Team For Marseille Event




A new artistic team has been selected for Manifesta 13 which takes place in Marseille in 2020 by Director of Manifesta, Hedwig Fijen. This follows the August 2018 appointment by Manifesta 13 of Dutch architect Winy Maas and urban practice MVRDV to conduct the pre-biennial research study for the French city.

The appointed artistic team has our confidence to create a critical response to the current state of affairs in Europe –  Hedwig Fijen

Manifesta 13 Marseille will apply the same innovative approach introduced in Manifesta 12 Palermo, where an in-depth urban study preceded the appointment of 4 trans-disciplinary Creative Mediators who collaborated to genuinely integrate the biennial into the social, cultural, and political fabric of the city of Palermo. This model will now be continued for Manifesta 13 taking place in 2020 in Marseille with the intention to unlock the city and leave a tangible legacy as was accomplished in Palermo. This is the first time that Manifesta will hold a biennial edition in France. Acutely mirroring the current geopolitical challenges both Europe and France are facing, and specifically Marseille as a city of many contradictions, this Mediterranean metropole provides an apt location to hold the European Nomadic Biennial in 2020.

Manifesta is announcing the artistic team of its 13th edition: Moroccan Alya Sebti is today the director of Berlin’s ifa Gallery, has recently been the guest curator of the 13th Dak’Art, Biennial of Contemporary African Art (2018), and was Artistic Director of the 5th Marrakech Biennial; Spanish architect Marina Otero Verzier is the Director of Research and Development at Het Nieuwe Instituut in Rotterdam, The Netherlands; Moscow-based, Russian Katerina Chuchalina, is chief curator at the V-A-C Foundation in both Moscow and Venice; German Stefan Kalmár is currently the director of the ICA in London, formerly director of Artists Space New York City, and Kunstverein München, and former resident of Marseille having lived in the city for 12 years.

Manifesta Team 2020

Manifesta Team 2020: Left to right; Alya Sebti, Katerina Chuchalina, Marina Otero Verzier, Stefan Kalmár Courtesy of Manifesta 13

The appointed artistic team of Manifesta13 reflects this trans-disciplinary and intercultural approach and is the continuation of a model working with a team of both architects, urbanists, curators, and artistic producers covering the knowledge of the Mediterranean region at large as well as the broader spectrum of working in the specific geographical and social-political context of Marseille.

Manifesta Director, Hedwig Fijen: “In continuation of the thematic approach and model of Manifesta 12 in Palermo, we have looked for another southern Mediterranean, historically important central city allowing us to engage with the 21st century urgent global and local issues. This second city of France seems always to be positioned as the ‘outsider’ city characterised by many contradictions since many citizens consider themselves first Marseillaise and second French. Yet Marseille, with its great port city multiculturalism, and all its complexities and struggles, is for us maybe the ultimate test of how Marseille, France and Europe are facing the most important conflicts of our time. The appointed artistic team has our confidence to create a critical response to the current state of affairs in Europe and an artistic vision of how we can look at global issues through the spectrum of Marseille.”

MVRDV, after having worked closely with students from the National Higher School of Architecture (ENSA), the National Higher School of Arts and Design of Marseille, and The Why Factory, a research institute for the future city, founded by Winy Maas in 2008 at TU Delft, will close its pre-biennial urban study in the beginning of 2019. An architectural intervention in the public space of the city of Marseille will be presented in spring of the same year.

Alya Sebti has been directing the ifa Gallery Berlin (Institute for Foreign Cultural Relations) since 2016. In 2018 she was guest curator of the 13th Dak’Art, Biennial of Contemporary African Art and in 2014, she was the Artistic Director of the 5th Marrakech Biennial. She has curated several exhibitions including invisible at Musee de l’IFAN in Dakar, Carrefour/Treffpunkt at the ifa Galleries, Casablanca, Energie Noire as part of Mons 2015 – European Capital of Culture, and Now Eat My Script at KW Institute for Contemporary Art Berlin (2014). She was a board member of the International Biennial Association (IBA). She has written and lectured extensively on art and the public sphere, about biennials and transcultural art practices at venues including: Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin; Thessaloniki Biennale (GR); University of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia; KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin; International Academy of Salzburg (Austria); New York University, Berlin; Le Cube Art Centre, Rabat.

Top Photo: P C Robinson © Artlyst 2018 Manifesta 12 

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