Manifesta 5 San Sebastian
11 Jun - 04 Sep 2004
Donostia - San Sebastian and Pasaia, Basque Country, Spain
11 June - 4 September 2004
The Basque region – one of a specific dynamic historical and socio-political background – has a strong sense of cultural and political identity and a determination to develop coherent cultural policies. This attitude together with its geographical position in Southern Europe made Donostia-San Sebastian a perfect location for the 5th edition of Manifesta. At the time of M5, one of Manifesta’s long-term strategic aims was to achieve a stronger North-South balance, in addition to the already existing East-West balance in all aspects of its activities, including location, board members, curatorial teams and artistic representation. One particularly innovative program within the Biennale was Manifesta 5’s long-lasting partnership with the post-graduate Berlage Institute Rotterdam in The Netherlands, functioning as a urban mediator at the biennale and as a collaboration between architects and artists, exploring how contemporary art practices is extending in the reality of architecture and urban planning.
Bas Jan Ader
Victor Alimpiev and Sergey Vishnevsky
Huseyin Alptekin, Micol Assael
Iliya Chichkan and Kyrill Protsenko
D.A.E. (Peio Aguirre and Leire Vergara)
Jan de Cock Angela de la Cruz
Office of Alternative Urban Planning (Veronica Arcos, Jose Arnaud, Sannah Belzer, Sebastian Khourian, Claudia Strahl, Monica Villate, Constanze Zehi)
Eyal Sivan and Michel Khleifi
Amelie von Wulffen
David Zink Yi
Manifesta 5 as curated by the team of Marta Kuzma and Massimiliano Gioni opens on June 11th, 2004 to include over fifty artists from throughout Europe. The project in Donostia - San Sebastian is organised by the Amsterdam based International Manifesta Foundation together with the Basque Government, the Territorial Council of Gipuzkoa and the Donostia-San Sebastian City Council.
Departing from the notion of the city as a territory, the curators refer to Manifesta 5 as an instrument of investigation into Donostia-San Sebastian as a privileged social site and catalytic trigger to launch the formulation of their project. Deferring from the spectacle of the political and bypassing contemporary art's recent obsession with global geographies, the works within Manifesta 5 illustrate how the cryptic, opaque and enigmatic may reveal the subtlety of the polemical and the potential of its transgression.
Manifesta 5 attempts to explore cultural landscapes as they get refracted through hieroglyphic languages. The projects developed in Manifesta 5 concentrate on the formulation of intricate and idiosyncratic structures that translate reality into enigmatic forms, corresponding to a more stratified understanding of the complexity of one's relationship to the world. Such complexity reveals contradictions and simultaneity - between the demand for order and the will for formlessness, between the rational and irrational, construction and expression, the performative and static, and between symmetry and chaos, violence and rupture.
In approaching Donostia-San Sebastian and its broader Basque territory as a zone of contingency, Manifesta 5 and the artists involved in the project turn to time and space as malleable, locating their works within a temporal gap that houses at once the past, the present and the future.
The articulation of the exhibition endeavours to reflect those tensions endemic to the region and the spectral doubling of place by occupying both the historic centre of Donostia-San Sebastian and its industrial, peripheral counterpart - the port town of Pasaia. Extending beyond the symmetry, order, homogeneity, and leisure of San Sebastian into the polemics of its neighbouring Pasaia, Manifesta 5 aims at revealing the essence of something that is simultaneously economic, political, historical and aesthetic.
In looking for clues within the physical space of its inception, the curators initiated the Office of Alternative Urban Planning in September 2003 with the Berlage Institute, a Rotterdam based post-graduate laboratory of architecture and urban research, directed by the architect Alejandro Zaera Polo. Together with a designated team of architects led by Sebastian Khourian, the curatorial team explored how Manifesta, as a cultural project, might enable the reinvigoration of Pasaia as one of the most impoverished areas in the Gipuzkoa territory located outside San Sebastian's city center.