11 Rooms - Group Show

Saturday 9th July 2011

MIF 2011
Press release — 17 March 2011
11 Rooms – Group Show

Manchester International Festival 2011 is delighted to announce 11 Rooms, a major group exhibition curated by Hans Ulrich Obrist and Klaus Biesenbach. 11 Rooms will bring together leading contemporary artists who create durational encounters as part of their practice. Taking over eleven rooms at Manchester Art Gallery, this exhibition will include new and re-imagined works, all commissioned for the festival, by artists John Baldessari, Marina Abramović, Allora & Calzadilla, Simon Fujiwara, Joan Jonas, Laura Lima, Roman Ondák, Lucy Raven, Tino Sehgal, Santiago Sierra and Xu Zhen.

11 Rooms will present artists from five continents whose interest lies in the unmediated experience. Each artist will explore the ephemeral nature of art, focusing on an idea or situation that both establishes and erases itself in the same instance, shaping a direct experience for the audience.

For this original event, Manchester Art Gallery will create eleven rooms of even size within its galleries. Each artist will be given a room in which they will perform a live instruction piece. The rooms will not be interlinked and will only be accessible individually. The exhibition will be open during regular gallery opening hours for visitors to explore the works.

Following the critical acclaim of Il Tempo del Postino at Manchester Opera House for the inaugural Festival in 2007 and Marina Abramović Presents, the epic group show of long durational live art at the Whitworth Art Gallery in 2009, Manchester International Festival has established a reputation for commissioning some of the most innovative and challenging live art events. 11 Rooms will build on that work, once again bringing the best of international contemporary art to Manchester.

Following the Manchester dates in 2011, the exhibition will be presented as part of The International Arts Festival RUHRTRIENNALE 2012 – 2014 in August/September 2012.

11 Rooms builds on the Festival's commitment to time-based visual art practice. It promises to be an alluring and thought-provoking new visual art event by some of the leading contemporary artists alive and I'm grateful to Hans Ulrich Obrist and Klaus Biesenbach for their curatorial prowess”, said Alex Poots, Festival Director.

Hans Ulrich Obrist, Co-director of the Serpentine Gallery said, “11 Rooms follows Il Tempo del Postino which we co- curated with Philippe Parreno for MIF in 2007 and Marina Abramović Presents which we presented at MIF 09. All three are time-based group shows. For us it is important to find more possibilities to show art that experiments beyond the object. 11 Rooms does so by offering eleven spaces to artists – these will be sculptural rooms that will go beyond the static human-to-object-relationship.”

“I envision the exhibition as a sculpture display, like in the Villa Borghese. Normally in such a setting, I always focus on one figurative sculpture – of a woman, of a man, or of a group of figures placed in the middle of the room, so that I can move around. 11 Rooms will have a human figure in each room too, but the object will be a subject. There will be a human body in each of the galleries”, said Klaus Biesenbach, Director of MoMA PS1.

9 – 17 July 2011
Sat 9 July: 14:00 – 17:00
Sun 10 July: 10:00 – 17:00
Mon 11 July: 10:00 – 17:00
Tues 12 July: 10:00 – 17:00
Weds 13 July: 10:00 – 17:00
Thurs 14 July: 10:00 – 17:00
Fri 15 July: 10:00 – 17:00
Sat 16 July: 10:00 – 17:00
Sun 17 July: 10:00 – 17:00

FREE entry 10:00 – 17:00 – no ticket required*
Please note, if busy a queuing system will be in place at the gallery with entry on a ‘one-out, one- in’ basis throughout the day.
*There are a limited number of free tickets that can be booked in advance for entry at 10:00 and 16:00 only. To book your free ticket, please visit: www.quaytickets.com. Tickets are subject to a £1.50 booking fee (per booking, not per ticket).
A maximum of four tickets can be booked per individual.

Commissioned by Manchester International Festival, Manchester Art Gallery and the International Arts Festival RUHRTRIENNALE 2012 – 2014.

Produced by Manchester International Festival and Manchester Art Gallery. With thanks to Heiner Goebbels for his collaboration and support.

Notes to Editors


Hans Ulrich Obrist
is Co-director of the Serpentine Gallery in London. He has served as curator of the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris and Museum in Progress, Vienna. Obrist has curated over 250 exhibitions worldwide since the Kitchen show (World Soup) in 1991: 1994; Take Me, I’m Yours, 1995; Manifesta 1, 1996; Cities on the Move, 1997; Nuit Blanche, 1998; 1st Berlin Biennale, 1998; Utopia Station, 2003; 2nd Guangzhou Triennale, 2005; 1st & 2nd Moscow Biennale, 2005 and 2007; Lyon Biennale, 2007; and Yokohama Triennale, 2008. Obrist also conceived the Marathon series of public events (2005-2010). He is a contributing editor of Abitare, Another Magazine, Artforum, Paradis Magazine, and 032c Magazine and in March 2011, he was awarded the Bard College Award for Curatorial Excellence.

Klaus Biesenbach is Director of MoMA PS1 and a Chief Curator at Large at The
Museum of Modern Art. Among the exhibitions Biesenbach has organised or co organized internationally are Laurel Nakadate: Only the Lonely, 2011; Marina Abramovic: The Artist is Present, 2010; Performance 1:Tehching Hsieh, 2009; Pipilotti Rist: Pour Your Body Out (7354 Cubic Meters), 2008; Doug Aitken: sleepwalkers, 2007, co-commissioned with Creative Time; Regarding Terror: The Red Army Faction Exhibition Berlin and Graz, 2005; The Shanghai Biennale, 2002; Projected Images at Venice Biennale, 1995; Hybrid Workspace at Documenta X, Kassel, 1997 and 37 Rooms, Berlin, 1992. Biesenbach founded Kunst-Werke (KW) Institute for Contemporary Art in Berlin in 1991, as well as the Berlin Biennale in 1996.


Marina Abramović (b. 1946, Belgrade, Serbia). Since the beginning of her career in Belgrade during the early 1970s, Marina Abramović has pioneered performance as a visual art form, creating some of the most important early works. The body has always been both her subject and medium. Exploring her physical and mental limits in works that ritualise the simple actions of everyday life, she has withstood pain, exhaustion and danger in her quest for emotional and spiritual transformation. From 1975-88, Abramović and the German artist Ulay performed together, dealing with relations of duality.

Jennifer Allora (b. 1974, Philadelphia, PA) and Guillermo Calzadilla (b. 1971, Havana, Cuba) are known for their complex artistic practice encompassing sculpture, performance, sound and video. Simultaneously critical and playful, their conceptual works are both thought provoking and politically incisive. The artists live and work in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Allora & Calzadilla have had various monographic exhibitions worldwide including at the Serpentine Gallery, Renaissance Society, Kunsthalle Zurich, Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, Haus Der Kunst, Kunstmuseum Krefeld, and National Museum, Oslo. They have presented their work in numerous collective international exhibitions including at the Guggenheim Museum, Musee D’Art Moderne de La Ville De Paris/Arc, the Centre Pompidou in Paris and Tate Modern among others, and have taken part in numerous biennials including in Venice, São Paulo, Whitney, Lyon, and Istanbul Biennials. The artists will represent the United States in the 2011 Venice Biennial.

John Baldessari (b.1931) was born in National City, California. He attended San Diego State University and did post-graduate work at Otis Art Institute, Chouinard Art Institute and the University of California at Berkeley. He taught at the California Institute of the Arts in Valencia, California from 1970 until 1988 and the University of California at Los Angeles from 1996 until 2007. Baldessari’s artwork has been featured in more than 200 solo exhibitions and in over 1000 group exhibitions in the U.S. and Europe. His projects include artist books, videos, films, billboards and public works.

Simon Fujiwara (b. 1982) is a British-Japanese artist who uses novels, theatre plays, lectures and installations to script and perform his own biography as fiction. A drama in which he plays the roles of multiple characters: artist, novelist, anthropologist, eroticist, architect and playwright.

Joan Jonas (b. 1936) was born in New York City where she also lives and works today. A pioneer of video and groundbreaking performance art and one of the most important artists to emerge in the late 1960s and 1970s, Jonas' projects and experiments provided the foundation on which much video performance art would be based. Her influences also extended to conceptual art, theatre performance and other visual media. The exploration of gender, identity and the fragmented female image along with women’s shifting roles have fueled her art for over 40 years. Jonas is also a professor of Visual Arts at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Laura Lima (b. 1971) lives and works in Rio de Janeiro. Lima is a conceptual artist primarily concerned with the human body - often as part of a larger whole, whether connecting to or contradicting other objects. She has presented her artworks at major exhibitions in Brazil including the Sao Paulo Biennial.

Roman Ondák (b. 1966) was born in Slovakia and now lives and works in Bratislava, Slovakia. Ondák’s work, which might take the form of installation, photography, drawing, and performance art, explores specific situations which very often involve people he has a relationship with. Asking them to follow his instructions while also interjecting their own creativity, the result is a controlled study of collective imagination. Ondák’s work has been shown at MoMa, Tate Modern, Centre Pompidou, the Shanghai Biennale, daaadgalerie, Berlin and the 53rd Venice Biennale among others. Two of his most recent works, Time Capsule and Stampede are currently being shown at Modern Art Oxford.

Lucy Raven (b.1977) was born in Arizona and is now based in New York and in Oakland. Raven is an artist working with a variety of media, including video, film and animation, as well as the live format of the illustrated lecture, to present detailed accounts of global economic and social infrastructures. Her work has been exhibited at art and film spaces internationally.

Tino Sehgal (b. 1976) is a British-German artist based in Berlin. His work involves one or more people carrying out instructions conceived by the artist. These works are ephemeral, establishing and erasing themselves in the same instant and defying the conventional relationship between audience and art work. They can be retold and repositioned as part of a collection. Sehgal has exhibited at a number of important venues including the Institute of Contemporary Arts, Tate Britain, Manifesta 4, the 2005 Venice Biennale and he also created work for the group show Il Tempo Del Postino for MIF 2007. Sehgal will be the thirteenth artist to develop a new work for Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall as part of The Unilever Series, in 2012.

Santiago Sierra (b. 1966) is a Spanish artist living in Madrid. Using his art to address structures of power, Sierra demonstrates situations of exploitation and marginalisation through a provocative politicisation of minimalism, often hiring underprivileged individuals or groups to undertake menial tasks in exchange for money. His work has most recently been exhibited at Queensland Art Gallery – Gallery of Modern Art, Australia and ARTIUM Centro – Museo de Art Contemporáneo Vasco, Spain.

Xu Zhen (b.1977) is a Chinese artist living in Shanghai. Zhen graduated from the Shanghai School of Arts and Craft in 1996 and still lives and works in Shanghai. Zhen won the top prize at the China Contemporary Art Award in 2004 and since 2001, when he was invited to the 49th Venice Biennale, Zhen has exhibited his works widely. His exhibitions include China Power Station: Part I, Battersea Power Station, London, 2006; On Mobility, De Appel, Amsterdam, 2006; China Contemporary - Art, Architecture and Visual Culture; Museum Boijmanns van Beuningen, Rotterdam, 2006; The Thirteen – Chinese Video Now, PS1 Contemporary Art Center, New York, 2006; Restless, Museum of Contemporary Art, Shanghai, 2006; Universal Studios, Beijing, 2006 and Xu Zhen, H-Space at ShanghART Gallery, Shanghai, 2006. Until June 2009 Xu Zhen worked under the company name MadeIn Inc.

Manchester Art Gallery houses many of the city's most important fine and decorative art works, which have been designated as being of national importance. The collection covers over six centuries up to the present day, but the gallery is especially renowned for their 19th century British paintings. The gallery's programme of temporary exhibitions brings world class contemporary and historic art to the city.

The RUHRTRIENNALE is an annual international arts festival in the industrial region of Ruhr, Germany. One of the foremost European festivals, the RUHRTRIENNALE, led for 2012 – 2014 by Artistic Director Heiner Goebbels, begins a new cycle every three years, turning the unique industrial heritage of the region into performance spaces for music, theatre, literature and dance. The festival facilitates new spaces for new directions in the arts: music theatre between the traditional genres of spoken drama and opera, artistic experiences beyond the boundaries of installation and performing art, visually staged concerts of contemporary music, international premieres dedicated to and performed in former machine halls and coking plants.

Manchester International Festival, the world’s first festival of original, new work and special events, takes place biennially in Manchester, UK. The Festival launched in 2007 as an artist-led, commissioning festival presenting new works from across the spectrum of performing arts, visual arts and popular culture.

Manchester International Festival 2011 will run from Thursday 30 June – Sunday 17 July 2011. Register for updates at www.mif.co.uk.

For all press information, images and interview requests regarding 11 Rooms please contact Dorothee Dines at Calum Sutton PR on dorothee@suttonpr.com or
+44 (0) 207 183 3577 / +44 (0) 7540 495 862.

For more press information, images and interview requests regarding Manchester International Festival please contact Nadja Coyne at MIF on nadja.coyne@mif.co.uk
or +44 (0) 161 238 7331 / +44 (0) 7799 532 373.