Rotterdam Cultural Histories #9 revolves around the first edition of Manifesta, the travelling European biennial that had its very first edition in Rotterdam from June to August 1996. Manifesta 1 was held in 16 different museums and 36 public spaces in Rotterdam, including Witte de With. The biennial was developed by Hedwig Fijen (founding director) and Joop van Caldenborgh (first chair of Manifesta Foundation) and co-curated by Katalyn Neray (Hungary), Rosa Martinez (Spain), Viktor Misiano (Russia), Hans-Ulrich Obrist (Switzerland), and Andrew Renton (United Kingdom). All the works displayed at Manifesta 1 were specially made for this edition and many of the participating artists, now world-renown, where exhibiting outside their own countries for the first time in their career. Through archival and video material that was never shown before, this edition of Rotterdam Cultural Histories aims to shed light on the coming about of the first Manifesta biennial and on the contributions done by artists like Maria Eichhorn (Germany), Ayse Erkmen (Turkey), Vadim Fishkin (Russia), IRWIN (Slovenia), Oleg Kulik (Russia), Roman Ondak (Slovakia), and Huang Yong Ping (France/China).
Rotterdam Cultural Histories is a collaborative project between TENT and Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art that explores our common roots in Rotterdam and articulates meeting points between both of our programs. Rotterdam Cultural Histories is conceived by Defne Ayas (Director of Witte de With) and Mariette Dölle (former Artistic Director of TENT).
This edition is organized in close collaboration with and with support of Manifesta Foundation.