What would you do for the sake of art? I’d highly recommend travel to Zurich, Switzerland, to visit this year’s European biennale Manifesta 11. The German artist and this year’s curator Christian Jankowski has organised a brilliant exhibition with the title “What People Do for Money – Some Joint Ventures” which is on view until September 18, 2016.
He invited 30 international artists to choose a profession from a list of 1000 jobs performed everyday in Zürich and this way matched the artists with local hosts from a non-art profession. Together they created art works on the overall theme of work and labor, which are exhibited in two different sites, namely the host’s workplace and one of the exhibition venues the Löwenbräukunst and the Helmhaus. The practice of collaboration and double presentation involves the residents of Zürich in the exhibition process and invites people to discover art where they don’t expect or search for it, making this Manifesta an easy accessible experience. This openness also creates space to understand, how people from another profession see the world differently and how these new perspectives can also reflect on a new understanding of art.
For the sake of art don’t miss these 10 hot spots of this year’s Manifesta:
John Rafman, Open Heart Warrior
Start your Manifesta visit with a deep relaxation either at the Löwenbräukunst or the float center Zürich. Canadian artist John Rafman worked with Spa Manager Oscar Trott to create a video installation, which blurs the line between spa facilities and the virtual world of gaming, between the real and the virtual resulting in a rather irritating experience.
Pablo Helguera, Bolito Husserl
The Mexican artist Pablo Helguera researched with his host the Swiss journalist Daniel Binswanger the job market in Switzerland. The outcome is a comic figure called Bolito Husserl, who is enormously knowledgeable but due to his over qualification can’t find a job reflecting on a social tendency of highly specialized training and education. Each Saturday a new comic strip is published in the Swiss magazine Das Magazin and at the Löwenbräukunst you can see some examples as well as Artoons by Helguera, which ironically unveil art world insiders and will 100% make you smile.
Torbjørn Rødland, Intra- & Extraoral
The Norwegian artist Torbjørn Rødland and the dentist Danielle Heller Fontana have something in common as their works are both concerned with the aesthetics of the human body. Where as a doctor Heller Fontana aims to create the perfect smile Rødland took photos of the actual dental examinations and implant production that precede that prefect smile. The resulting photographs confirm the fear and anxieties of the obligatory yearly dentist appointment. Their impression must be even scarier for the patients at the dentist’s office looking at them before their treatments.
Carlos Congost, Simply the best
Carles Congost paired with the local fire department to shot an half an hour movie called Simply the best documenting the fictive installation of a sign serving as the motto of the city Zurich inspired by a Tine Turner song. A peculiar choir interrupts the scenes to sign Congost’s lyrics. On several aspects his work complies closely with the curatorial theme of money, work and labour. Fire can also be translated as the abbreviation of ‘Financial Independence/Retirement Early’, a concept that equates wage labour with a modern form of slavery.
John Arnold, Imbissy
It’s time for a refreshment now. Visit one of John Arnold’s Imbissys – seven restaurants that serve dishes, which he reinterpreted with the chef Fabian Spiquel from former state banquets of historical and diplomatic importance. The word Imbissy reflects the diplomatic taste, as it is a word creation from the English word ‘embassy’ and the German word ‘Imbiss’ (snack stand).
Marguerite Humeau, When skies above were not yet named
The French artist Marguerite Humeau is fascinated by the idea that love is an evolutionary function and with the help of the engineer Mathias Bürki she programmed robot-like creatures, which dance around at the ETH University and perform how from an evolutionary perspective human beings fall in love. They try to get closer to each other through a fog of anti-love-drugs while they atomize synthetic love hormones and utter mechanical mating calls. The robots look pretty cool and the entire scene is kind of mystic.
Do you already feel inspired to become an artist yourself? Here is your stage for a performance. The Cabaret Voltaire, the birthplace of Dada, becomes the guildhall for artists where only producers will become consumers as you are only allowed to see the performances of others after you have taken part yourself.
Evgeny Antufiev, Eternal Garden
Russian artist Evgeny Antufiev shares with pastor Martin Rüsch a fascination for rituals of remembrance. A Bible quote comparing transience of human life with the wilting of a flower stands as the beginning of Eternal Garden at the Wasserkirche next to the Helmhaus. The church is decorated with roses named after famous deceased people and instead of a Jesus figure a giant rendering of a butterfly suspends from the ceiling.
Franz Erhard Walther, Halbierte Weste
The day slowly comes to an end and it’s time for a drink. Visit the bar of the Park Hyatt Hotel, where the employees of the hotel wear the halbierte Weste – half vest by German artist Franz Erhard Walther, who cooperated with the textile developer Thomas Deutschenbaur to design these outfits, which are neither costumes nor do they have an actual function. For the process artist Walther the act of wearing is the actual art work. The orange of the costumes makes you thirsty for an orange Aperol spritz.
Pavillion of Refelctions
Did you bring your bathing suit? The best part of the Manifesta is the pavilion of reflections – a floating structure on Lake Zurich, which serves as an open-air cinema, bar and swimming pool all at once. While sipping your next drink you can refresh in the water and watch a series of experimental films of the Art Docs that offer an insight into the production, display and interpretation of the 30 commissioned works for the Manifesta 11. Would you do that for money? – Definitely do it for the sake of art!
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