Christian Jankowski Will Curate Manifesta 11

Christian Jankowski Photo via: © Jörg Reichert

German artist Christian Jankowski has been appointed Chief Curator of Manifesta 11, which is slated to open in Zürich, Switzerland, in 2016. It is the first time an artist lands the job.

“Jankowski will investigate the whole array of art’s authorship, its production and its reflection on Zurich’s professional landscape,” commented Manifesta director Hedwig Fijen. No more information on what this might entail has been revealed at this early stage.

The appointment is something of a return to roots for Jankowski, who started in the art world curating his own independent space, Friedensallee 12, in Hamburg from 1992 to 1996.

The artist is now best-known for his tongue-in-cheek video works and performative interventions, often probing into art’s value system. At Frieze Art Fair in 2011, a boat could be bought for £65 million as a boat, or for £75 million as a Jankowski artwork. Other of the artist’s pieces involve collaborations with mediums, newsreaders, magicians, and even members of the Vatican, with whom Jankowski went searching for the ideal Jesus (Casting Jesus, 2011).

Launched in 1996, Manifesta—also known as the roving European Biennial—has had a tough time of late. After so-so editions in Murcia and Limburg (held in 2010 and 2012 respectively), Manifesta was marred by controversy over the choice of Russia for its 10th edition (see “Controversial Manifesta 10 Organizers Condemn Artists Boycotts”).

Manifesta organizers no doubt hope that Jankowski’s impeccable art pedigree and his popular appeal—not to mention Switzerland’s rather tame political environment—will help put the bad memories behind them.


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