On August 26, 2016 at a press conference, the Mayor of Marseille, Jean-Claude Gaudin, and the Director of Manifesta, Hedwig Fijen, were thrilled to announce that the French city of Marseille has been selected to host the 13th edition of Manifesta, the European Biennial of Contemporary Art.
The Mayor of Marseille, Jean-Claude Gaudin says he was delighted that his city has won the bid for Manifesta 13 in 2020, which will focus on the issue: “Can an anti-model of a city be a place to re-think the future?”
Geographically isolated behind a barrier of rocky hills and facing towards the Mediterranean Sea, the city has a reputation for disobedience, multiculturalism and complexity. A city of flux, transit and trade, Marseille is one of the places where Europe dialogues with Africa and the rest of the world. Passion, invention, success and failure, opposites and incoherencies respond to each other and participate in an ecology defining the very heart of the city’s identity – an identity resembling an aesthetic.
Manifesta mobilises people, ambitions, dreams and knowledge in order to create new artistic practices and networks to stimulate the rethinking of our European future and to enlarge the inclusion of cultural audiences. Every two years, the main aim of Manifesta is to critically reflect upon the cultural DNA of a changing Europe from the standpoint of a different geographic and geo-political perspective – and in 2020, this will be in the south of France, from the city of Marseille.
Hedwig Fijen, director of Manifesta, at the press conference announcing the selection of Marseille as the Manifesta 13 Host City in 2020: “... it’s a great pleasure that Manifesta 13 will take place in the French city of Marseille, not only because until now, there has been no Manifesta in France, and Marseille is the country’s second largest city after Paris, but most importantly, we’re delighted because Marseille is conducting ongoing research on the shifting geo-political DNA of Europe, which is very quickly changing under the influence of growing global conflict, migration and climate change. Manifesta is researching how cities are coping with these encounters that influence our daily lives, and the way we live now and in the near future. The contradictions in the urban context of Marseille, its history, its position in the southern periphery of Europe, and its close connection in thematic perspective with Manifesta 12 in the City of Palermo, makes it an excellent choice for a Manifesta edition in 2020. We are looking forward to getting an early start on researching and mapping the city in order to create a context in which Manifesta as an institution can create and work with local stakeholders and different grassroots communities on an ongoing series of artistic projects…”