[spectre] (fwd) Manifesta 14, Pristina, reviewed by Cathryn Drake

Andreas Broeckmann ab at mikro.in-berlin.de
Tue Aug 16 10:16:03 CEST 2022

REVIEW of Manifesta, Pristina

Manifesta 14, “It matters what worlds world worlds: how to tell stories 
by Cathryn Drake

For its 14th edition, the nomadic European biennial Manifesta has taken 
up temporary residence in various cultural institutions and derelict 
spaces in and around Pristina, the capital of Kosovo, where creative 
mediator Catherine Nichols invited artists and practitioners to explore 
modes of storytelling across cultures. As a contested nation state, 
Kosovo embodies many of the most pressing and complex issues facing 
society today. When is a country a country? How many people have to say 
it is for it to be? Who has the authority to declare a territory as a 
nation? Does the population need to be homogenous? Who is nationalism 
good for? How can we all live together and be free? Roaming the city in 
search of the exhibitions and “artistic interventions”—by 102 artists in 
25 locations, from an Ottoman-era hammam to a former brick factory—I 
attempted to plot pieces of the puzzle into a coherent picture. 
Interacting with locals in Pristina was inevitable, both to find the 
far-flung (and often vaguely signposted) locations and to glean how the 
tumultuous, not-so-distant past led to the complex present.

The main exhibition, titled “The Grand Scheme of Things,” is hosted on 
seven floors of the Grand Hotel Pristina, a decadent specter of a 
structure that has hardly changed since it opened in 1978. Each floor is 
dedicated to a theme—transition, migration, water, capital, love, 
ecology, and speculation—expressed in everything from photographs, 
paintings, and sculptures to engaging films and immersive installations. 
Among these are the soft dolls of Dardan Zhegrova’s Your enthusiasm to 
tell a story (2015–22), which invite you to lay down, put your ear on 
their hearts, and hear the artist whisper intimate poetry. In 
embroidered tapestries titled The Frequency of Frankness (2012–22), 
Jakup Ferri depicts a magical universe where various species communicate 
and care for each other. It is worth making the trip to Pristina just to 
see the engaging and heartfelt work of artists from the Balkans, who 
comprise more than half of the exhibition.

(read on ...)


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