Manifesta 11 or What People Do for Money: Some Joint Ventures.


On 11 June 2016, Manifesta 11 will open in Zurich under the title What People Do for Money: Some Joint Ventures. Preparations for the large international art exhibition are nearing completion: The new productions, the result of encounters between international artists and representatives of Zurich-based occupations, are taking form. For example, the Catalan artist Carles Congost is working with the Zurich Fire Brigade to produce a film, Simply the Best, which will address the differences between a vocation and wage labour. Maurizio Cattelan is working together with a Paralympic athlete. Teresa Margolles with a transsexual sex worker, Marguerite Humeau with an engineer for robotic and Shelly Nadashi with a literature teacher. Another of the participating artists, French author Michel Houellebecq, has teamed up with a doctor to present Manifesta visitors a meticulous evaluation of his health.

The 30 new productions follow the format of the Joint Venture. Each of these artistic projects will be exhibited in three different ways: at a satellite venue, in a classical art institution and in the form of a film screened at the Pavillon of Reflections.


The historical exhibition, which will comprise over 100 positions, is being co-curated by Manifesta 11 Chief Curator Christian Jankowski together with English Curator Francesca Gavin. The Historical Exhibition: Sites Under Construction will take up and explore the various ways in which current and historical working worlds have been portrayed in art.

Furthermore, Cabaret Voltaire is undergoing a radical architectural change to become a guildhall for artists. On the facade, a new plastic bay window will signal the transformation of the historical building, from which Dadaism emerged 100 years ago. The building’s interior, in keeping with the theme of the biennial, will be turned into a working world along the lines of an office building. Those who want to join must put on a joint-venture performance. Thus, Cabaret der Künstler – Zunfthaus Voltaire will be the site of Manifesta 11‘s performance programme. To become members, artists must undertake a performance with a non-artist.


What do I do for money? What does my work do to me at the same time? The curatorial concept developed by Christian Jankowski for Manifesta 11 is focused on the fields of work found in Zurich and their relation to art. The eleventh edition of Manifesta, the European Biennial of Contemporary Art, will take place from 11 June to 18 September 2016 in Zurich.

The Idea behind Manifesta 11
Thirty international artists are developing projects with “hosts” of their choice, representatives of different occupations. The results of these encounters will be exhibited at the hosts’ respective workplaces (the so-called satellite venues) as well as at the main Manifesta venues – in the well-known Zurich art institutions Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst, LUMA Westbau / POOL, Kunsthalle Zürich and Helmhaus. Starting with the first one this past month, the new Manifesta projects are being inaugurated one by one at the satellite venues by the hosts and their friends.

The architectural icon of Manifesta 11 will be the Pavillon of Reflections, a floating platform on Lake Zurich. Equipped with a large-scale LED screen, theatre seating, a swimming area and a bar, the pavilion will provide a place for dialogue and reflection on the artworks made new for the biennial. The centrepiece of the program of events at the Pavillon of Reflections will be a series of films that follow the development of each new artwork and document their reception within the hosts‘ communities. These films are being produced by students and alumni from the Cast/Audiovisual Media Department at the ZHdK. Local junior high and high school students from Zurich have also contributed as ‘art detectives‘. The Pavillon of Reflections is being supported by EKZ (the electrical utilities of the canton of Zurich) and designed and built by Studio Tom Emerson from ETH Zurich.



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