Manifesta has announced that the 2024 edition of the itinerant European biennial will take place in Barcelona and ten other metropolitan cities of Catalonia region, including L’Hospitalet, Terrassa, Badalona, Sabadell, Mataró, Sant Cugat, Cornellà, El Prat de Llobregat, Granollers and Santa Coloma de Gramene. Manifesta 15 will be the third iteration of the European Biennial hosted by Spain, after San Sebastián in 2004 and Murcia in 2010.
The announcement comes as this year’s edition disrupted by the pandemic comes to close in Marseille. Covid-19 restrictions forced it to close prematurely and move the majority of its activities online. Before traveling to Spain, the next edition of Manifesta will take place in Kosovo’s capital Pristina in 2022.
In a statement, the organizers said: “The bid of Barcelona aligns with the mission of Manifesta, as it seeks to build upon the common objective of involving citizens, different entities and groups, in the common task of rethinking our world through artistic creativity and social commitment.” The organizers also noted that the strategy of spreading the exhibitions and programs over multiple cities in Catalonia, a region which has sought independence from Spain since the mid-19th century, “continues focused on how art and culture can fight polarization and division.”
In order to create meaningful relations and to understand how to connect to diverse worlds in a relevant way, Manifesta is focussing on reinventing its community-based approaches while building new ways of embedding its practices within the local context. In line with this new approach it has become urgent for Manifesta to start its work in Host Cities as early as possible to allow each edition to engage with the existing context and to generate more interdisciplinary projects that involve both the artistic ecosystem as well citizens. Hence, the International Foundation Manifesta simultaneously announced their pick for the 2026 edition, which will take place in Germany’s Ruhr Area.
According to IFM statement “the longer lead time given by this decision to allocate two Host Cities well in advance allows for Manifesta to develop sustainable concepts and strategies and to build active citizen participation and collective local and regional involvement. The microcosm of the metropolitan region and the link to global issues seems to us to be ideally suited for testing these approaches.”
“In addition, there is a particularly exciting conceptual theme of urbanistic significance: with the founding of the so-called New Silk Road, the Ruhr area is currently developing a new identity – as a logistics centre in the heart of Europe. The Ruhr Area has always focused on the migration of people and materials, things and goods – and how the global world order looks and will look in the future against the backdrop of its trade relations; we can now reflect and focus on this together with our many new partners on the ground.”