Until mid-September Zurich is playing host to the European Biennial of contemporary art, Manifesta. The more than 30 venues and collaborations in and around Switzerland’s largest city focus on the value of work with the rather apt theme: “What People Do for Money”.
French author Michel Houellebecq displays artistically edited X-rays of his head and his right hand. He had checked himself into one of Zurich’s leading private clinics for the sake of art.
Russian artist Evgeny Antufiev’s objects show a fascination with rituals of remembrance. His butterfly artwork is a tribute to his compatriot and novelist Vladimir Nabokov who had a passion for lepidopterology.
The curator of the 11th edition of Manifesta, video artist Christian Jankovsky, said the theme of the exhibition is close to Zurich’s heart as many of its residents define themselves by their jobs.
As a result, Manifesta deals with the wide range of jobs and activities people do to earn money.
One of the most provocative venues is an arrangement of compressed cubes by Californian artist Mike Bouchet. His work, “The Zürich Load”, is a day’s worth of processed human faeces mixed with concrete. It prompted both criticism and amusement in the media and the art world.
The artistic highlight and temporary landmark is the “Pavilion of Reflections”, a floating island with an integrated cinema and swimming pool. It is was made in co-operation with 30 architecture students from Federal Institute of Technology, ETH Zurich, led by Studio Tom Emerson.
Organisers expect an estimated 100,000 visitors from around the world to visit Manifesta, which opened in June and is due to end in September.
Larissa Bieler, swissinfo.ch; adapted from German