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Catherine Nichols. Photo: Peter Rigaud.
Catherine Nichols. Photo: Peter Rigaud.

Manifesta Announces Curator, Theme for 2022 Pristina Edition

Berlin-based curator Catherine Nichols has been named creative mediator of the forthcoming Manifesta 14, to be held in Pristina, Kosovo, in 2022. This edition of the itinerant biennial is to be titled “it matters what worlds world worlds: how to tell stories otherwise” and will investigate and promote collective storytelling, casting it, as the organizers described in a press release, as a “vital strategy of political and social engagement.” A Center for Narrative Practice is to be established at the city’s Hivzi Sylejmani Library, and will serve as the main hub for the biennial, which will spread out to occupy multiple locations.

Manifesta’s director Hedwig Fjern in 2019 cited the choice of Pristina as Manifesta 14’s location as a response to the region’s “loss of sense of public space and a lack of recognition for what is common” in the wake of the 1998–99 Kosovo War. Fjern at the time expressed a wish for the biennial to “provide Pristina the means to reconstruct, redefine, and reclaim a radicalized and diverse public space, which still seems to be today regarded as a cultural subversive act, which can become a call for change.” In a statement issued today, Fjern acknowledged that Manifesta, in collaboration with local communities, would put forth “alternative models of social cultural, urban and artistic engagement,” noting that “the foundation is working on developing a long-term strategy for setting up a creative interdisciplinary hub and concrete artistic interventions in public space which all can visit” during Manifesta’s run. Fjern lauded the choice of Nichols, saying that her “expertise fits perfectly into the artistic practices exploring new sustainable and creative communities focusing on how we can live, work and take care of each other in an age which is in urgent need for environmental sustainability.”

Nichols, who at present is artistic director of beuys 2021, a year-long initiative in Germany celebrating the centenary of Fluxus founder artist Joseph Beuys, said in a statement, “When I visited Pristina, the people I encountered, the conversations I had, the work I witnessed gave me a palpable sense of the transformative power that lies in stories and in the act, in the practice of storytelling itself.” Nichols continued, “I am delighted at the prospect of joining the Manifesta 14 team in bringing together artists, thinkers, scientists and citizens from all over Europe and beyond to explore how storytelling might enable us to engage with one another and, in our inherent plurality, to act in concert, to bring forth a more-than-human common world.”

Manifesta 14 will open July 22, 2022, and will run through October 30 of that year.