Biennials & festivals

Marseilles to host Manifesta in 2020

After Zurich next month and Palermo in 2018, the roving European biennial heads to France for the first time

The municipal council of Marseilles has confirmed that the southern French city will host the 13th edition of Manifesta, Europe’s roving contemporary art biennial, in 2020. The mayor’s office has formally unblocked subsidies worth €627,000 to pay for the rights to hold the event. From now to 2020, Marseilles will dedicate a total of €2.4m to Manifesta, between a quarter and a third of the biennial’s projected budget.

“This is the culmination of two years of work with all the authorities,” Marie-Hélène Féraud-Gregori, the municipal councillor for contemporary art, tells our French sister newspaper Le Journal des Arts. “After Marseille-Provence 2013, this is excellent news for culture in Marseilles and more generally for the city’s standing within Europe,” she says. In 2013, Marseilles and the surrounding region became European Capital of Culture, launching the waterfront Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilisations, France’s first national museum outside Paris, among other major projects.

This will be the first edition of Manifesta in France. Founded in the Netherlands in 1993, the biennial has taken up residence in cities including Rotterdam (1996), San Sebastián (2004) and, most recently, St Petersburg (2014). The next edition opens in Zurich on 11 June under the title What People Do for Money: Some Joint Ventures. It is devised by the German artist Christian Jankowski.

Manifesta has a history of taking on political themes and announced last November that the 2018 biennial in Palermo, Sicily, would explore migration and climate change. The theme of Marseilles 2020 is due to be announced in the autumn.