Verena Kuni Translated by Alexander Scrimgeour
Various, Frankfurt, Germany
According to the press release, ‘Manifesta wants to be an interactive workshop for looking at the latest developments in the realignment of current social, political, economic and cultural realities in Europe’. Practically, this is how it works: European curators who don’t know each other organize a biennial of contemporary art in a European city that they also don’t know, and often with artists whom they (and we) also don’t yet know. At the time of Manifesta 1 (held in Rotterdam in 1996) the idea held a lot of promise. It’s debatable, however, whether the curators of Manifesta 4 – Iara Bubnova, Nuria Enguiat Mayo and Stephanie Moisdon – really responded constructively to the show’s premise. They travelled around various countries and tried to meet, in their words, ‘as many individuals as possible’ and ‘construct the exhibition from that diverse mapping of a complex process’, but such mission statements have been described, not inappropriately, as amounting to no more than a ‘K-Mart of buzzwords’.