artists & participants
Manifesta 9 Genk / Limburg 2012
"The Deep of the Modern"
Ort: Former coal mine Waterschei, Genk / Provinz Limburg, Belgien
Kuratoren: Cuauhtemoc Medina, Katerina Gregos, Dawn Ades
Manifesta 9 Curatorial concept: The Deep of the Modern
The Deep of the Modern intends to create a complex dialogue between different layers of art and history. Its point of departure is the geographical location itself—the former coal-mining region of the Campine in north-eastern Belgium as a locus for diverse issues, both imaginary and ecological, aligned to industrial capitalism as a global phenomenon. Manifesta 9 takes its cue from the previously abandoned, recently restored Waterschei mine complex in Genk. It is part of a landscape made up from the multi-layered combinations of garden cities, urban planning, factories, canals, roads and railroads built to serve the coal-mining industry throughout the 20th Century. For the first time, Manifesta will take place in a single venue. One reason for this is the decision by Manifesta itself to concentrate on the content rather than the itinerary, creating opportunities for viewers to interact more thoroughly with the mediating processes.
The Deep of the Modern will be developed in three sections: Poetics of Restructuring. A section with contributions from 37 contemporary artists, exhibiting works focused on the aesthetic responses to the global "economic restructuring" of world-wide systems of production. This section will be installed on the first and second floors of the main Waterschei mine building in Genk, with works interacting as directly as possible with the existing structure and the industrial ruins of its immediate surroundings. The curatorial team has decided to limit the number of videos, aural projects and other time-based works, and to provide a diverse representation of contemporary artistic practice today, in terms of geography, gender and methodology.
The Age of Coal. An exhibition comprising artworks from 1800 to the early 21st Century about the history of art produced with a direct aesthetic relationship to the industrial era. This will generate a new kind of Material Art History, organised around 10 thematic sections. The exhibition is made up from 80 works featuring coal as their subject—as the main fuel of industry, as a major factor in environmental change, as a fossil with significant consequences in the field of natural science, as a reference point to certain levels of working class culture, as a symbolic material for the ever-changing experience of modern life, and how coal can be seen to have affected and defined artistic production.
17 Tons. Next to the historical and contemporary art content, Manifesta 9 will present a new element: an exploration of cultural production derived from shared memory, and those traits that unify the many people influenced by coal-mining, traversing the Campine region of Limburg, and elsewhere in Europe. This exhibition will be a series of collaborations between individuals and institutions who, although coming from many different disciplines and social strata, continue to activate the collective memory and to preserve both the physical and conceptual heritage of coal-mining. The title of the show refers to the well-known anthem of coal miners from around the world (16 Tons recorded by Mere Travis in 1946), the title of one of the most famous installations by Marcel Duchamp (Seventeen miles, 1942), and our aim to suggest the need to see how today, memory and artistic practices reflect and refer back to the coal-mining industry.
The ninth edition of Manifesta
On June 2, 2012 the ninth edition of Manifesta, the European Biennial of Contemporary Art, will open its doors in Genk, Province of Limburg, Belgium. The exhibition will be open for 120 days, from June 2 until September 30, 2012.
For the first time in the history of Manifesta, the biennial will take place in one single venue. For Manifesta 9 the large-scale industrial complex of the former coal mine Waterschei in Genk has been chosen. Taking into consideration the significance of the former Belgian coal mining region as a locus for discussing both the geographical and imaginary aspects of industrial capitalism as a global phenomenon, Manifesta 9 will develop as a unique dialogue between art, history and social reflection. In a series of exhibitions, presentations, conferences and events, Manifesta 9 will explore the way art and culture are intrinsic to the social processes that both record and transform the outlook of social formation. Keeping to its mandate of playing a critical role to advance and enhance dialogue within broader Europe, and in line with Manifesta's continuing ambition to create opportunities for research and innovation at the very vanguard of cultural experimentation, Manifesta 9 will form a platform to investigate the possible modi operandi of a biennial. This makes space to examine the role in which art, heritage and culture can play in society-at-large. Manifesta 9 is curated by Cuauhtémoc Medina, with associate curators Katerina Gregos and Dawn Ades.
Cuauhtémoc Medina is an international curator, art critic and historian based in Mexico City, Mexico. He holds a PhD in Art History and Theory from the University of Essex, UK. Medina is a researcher at the Instituto de Investigaciones Estéticas at the National University of Mexico and was the first Associate Curator of Latin American Art Collections at Tate Modern in London.
Katerina Gregos is a curator and writer based in Brussels, Belgium. She is curator of the Danish Pavilion at the current 54th Venice Biennale. Alongside Manifesta 9 her forthcoming curatorial projects are the 4th Fotofestival Mannheim Ludwigshafen Heidelberg, 2011 and Newtopia: The State of Human Rights, an exhibition for the City of Mechelen, Belgium, 2012. Previously, she served as artistic director of Argos - Centre for Art & Media, Brussels, and director of the Deste Foundation, Centre for Contemporary Art, Athens, as well as curator of numerous large-scale, international exhibitions.
Dawn Ades is a fellow of the British Academy, a former trustee of the Tate and was awarded an Order of the British Empire in 2002 for her services to art history. Ades was responsible for several of the most important exhibitions in London and overseas over the past thirty years, including Dada and Surrealism Reviewed, Art in Latin America and Francis Bacon.
Manifesta, the European Biennial of Contemporary Art, changes its location every two years. 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, culture and society, set within a European context.
Manifesta 9 is initiated and produced by the Manifesta Foundation, the Province of Limburg and the City of Genk.
Press Preview: May 31 and June 1, 2012 Official Opening: June 1, 2012 Public Opening: June 2, 2012
Former coal mine Waterschei Genk, Limburg, Belgium