Curatorview [Alfredo Cramerotti]

Region of Murcia embraces Manifesta 8

Posted in nEws and rEleases by Curatorview on October 25, 2010

The Region of Murcia embraces Manifesta 8 – more than 30.000 visits in the first week

Manifesta8, the European Biennial of Contemporary Art, takes place in the Region of Murcia (Spain) in dialogue with northern Africa, from October 9, 2010 until January 9, 2011

Image: Opening of Manifesta 8 at the former post office in Murcia, venue of Manifesta 8.
© Ilya Rabinovich
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On October 9, 2010, Manifesta8, the European Biennial of Contemporary Art with its special focus on stimulating the dialogue with northern Africa, opened in the Region of Murcia in south-eastern Spain. Manifesta 8 showcases art from all disciplines featuring multi-media installation, film, performance, dance and music, and makes use of both traditional and unconventional art channels in co-operation with such media outlets as newspapers, radio, television and the Internet.

The event was officially opened by Ramón Luis Valcárcel Siso (President of the Region of Murcia), Pedro Alberto Cruz Sánchez (Minister of Culture and Tourism for the Region of Murcia), Miguel Ángel Cámara (Mayor of Murcia), Pilar Barreiro (Mayor of Cartagena) and Hedwig Fijen (President Manifesta 8/Director Manifesta Foundation).

In the first week Manifesta 8 has counted the record number of more than 30.000 visits by local audience, artists, curators, art professionals from around the globe and over 500 international journalists (source: Regional Ministry of Culture and Tourism of the Region of Murcia). Emerging from the experiences gained through former Manifesta Biennials, Manifesta 8 focuses on the concept of collective curating and has been developed by three curatorial teams coming from the most diverse areas of Europe including Scandinavia, the U.K., Central Europe and the Mediterranean as well as the Middle East and the U.S. The curatorial team of Manifesta 8 is composed of ACAF – Alexandria Contemporary Arts Forum (Bassam El Baroni, Jeremy Beaudry), CPS – Chamber of Public Secrets (Khaled Ramadan, Alfredo Cramerotti) and (Vít Havránek, Zbyněk Baladrán, Dóra Hegyi, Boris Ondreička, Georg Schöllhammer).

More than 85% of the exhibited works have been newly commissioned and produced by Manifesta 8, often supported by the most important international cultural bodies, art institutions, museums, art galleries and ministries of culture.

Manifesta Foundation places special focus on sustainability by building networks and creating goodwill in its host regions. “Manifesta 8 is not a social activists group, but many works in the biennial have been conceived in collaboration with unions, political parties, special interest groups, blind associations, the lottery, schools, and other educational services,” says Manifesta Director Hedwig Fijen. “By working with craftsmen, technicians and local professionals, Manifesta creates a greater know-how in the entire region, which remains longer after Manifesta has moved on.”

This is part of Manifesta’s spirit of collaboration, incorporating the use of otherwise discarded examples of local history, namely five previously abandoned buildings – Pavilions 1 and 2 at the former Artillery Barracks and the former Central Post Office in Murcia, the declassified San Anton Prison and the once popular El Parque Restaurant on the highest hill overlooking Cartagena. This is one of the sustainable effects of Manifesta in each of its successive editions. Manifesta leaves behind buildings which were under-utilized in the past, for future use for cultural and social events.

On Sunday, October 10, 2010 the Symposium “Bringing you the answers before you know the question: four positions regarding the idea of a pan-African roaming biennial” took place in Murcia as part of the “Incubator for a pan-African roaming Biennial” initiated in the framework of Manifesta 8. The Incubator is a one-year-long project formed in response to a proposal by two of Manifesta’s curators, Bassam El Baroni and Jeremy Beaudry of Alexandria Contemporary Arts Forum (ACAF), and relates to the motto “in dialogue with northern Africa”. It consists of the symposium during the opening weekend of Manifesta 8, the development of a website, a workshop in April 2011, and the production of a publication in September 2011.

On the same Sunday, October 10, 2010, Toronto-based professor of psychology, John M. Kennedy lectured at MUBAM, Museo de Bellas Artes de Murcia, one of the venues of Manifesta 8, to a large audience on the phenomenon of the blind painter Eşref Armağan whose contribution to the exhibition was curated by Chamber of Public Secrets.

Manifesta 8 – the roaming European Biennial of Contemporary Art is organized by the Manifesta Foundation (Amsterdam) together with the Region of Murcia. Access to all venues and education activities is free. More information on the ongoing education program can be found at: and booking via The Manifesta 8 catalogue in English is available for purchase at

On the occasion of the opening of Manifesta 8, the next destination of the roaming Manifesta biennial was announced. In 2012 Manifesta 9 will be hosted by the region of Limburg, Belgium.

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