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Coronavirus: Manifesta 13 in Marseille on hold and Sydney Biennale goes virtual with Google Arts & Culture

Riga International Biennial of Contemporary Art has also been postponed

The roving Manifesta biennial has been postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic © Florian Wehde

The next edition of Manifesta, scheduled to open in Marseille on 7 June, has been postponed because of the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic. The 13th edition of the nomadic European biennial, entitled Traits d’union.s, was due to take place in France for the first time across venues such as the Musée d’Histoire de Marseille and the Musée Cantini.

“The organisers are still evaluating the options of new dates, working in close consultation with the City of Marseille and with Manifesta’s leading stakeholders; they will announce the new dates, alongside a formal statement with further information, as soon as they can but it is likely this will take a few more weeks at least,” a spokeswoman says.

Kabul-based artist Aziz Hazara's video Bow Echo (2019), which he created for the Biennale will now go on online Courtesy of the artist and Han Nefkens Foundation

Meanwhile, the organisers of the Sydney Biennale, which has been running for nine days, have closed down the event due to coronavirus. The biennial, which focuses on climate emergency and the indigenous struggle, was due to run until 8 June but has now moved online, becoming a “virtual biennale” on the Google Arts & Culture platform.

“The Covid-19 pandemic and potential impact on the safety of our visitors, artists, staff and wider community remains our top priority. And so, in line with the latest advice from Government authorities, the Biennale of Sydney is closing its public exhibitions from Tuesday 24 March until further notice,” says a statement.

The 22nd edition, entitled Nirin, includes more than 700 works by 101 artists and collectives on show across six venues including Cockatoo Island in Sydney Harbour. The organisers promise to bring the virtual biennial to life through virtual walk-throughs, podcasts, interactive Q&As, curated tours and artist takeovers.

Meanwhile, the second edition of the Riga International Biennial of Contemporary Art (RIBOCA2) has been postponed. The biennial was due to take place on an industrialised site in Riga, Latvia, as well in the resort town of Jūrmala. Other participating venues included several restaurants.

“The biennial and the curatorial team led by chief curator Rebecca Lamarche-Vadel are now considering alternative ways for audiences to experience works and ideas from its 48 participants,” says a statement.