Manifesta originated in the early 1990’s in response to the political, economic and social changes following the end of the Cold War and the subsequent steps towards European integration. Since that time, Manifesta has developed into a traveling platform focusing on the dialogue between art and society in Europe.

So far, Manifesta counts 14 editions, spanning over 26 years and involving 892 participants


Manifesta is the European Nomadic Biennial, changing locations with Europe for each edition. In its 30 years of existence, Manifesta has become one of the most influential biennials in the world. Every two years, Manifesta takes place in a new European Host City, exploring the local, cultural, urban and environmental conditions while re-imagining with local citizens and communities how we live, work and see our future in Europe.

After 30 years, Manifesta has transformed the very essence of its model, from being a biennial of contemporary art and a producer of exhibitions to an interdisciplinary platform of co-creation, incorporating artistic creativity and social commitment for social, urban and cultural change. This new model of Manifesta, closely related to our changing society, functions both as a base to experiment with artistic practices, and as an incubator for long-term sustainable interventions in each host city.

Manifesta is now based on a co-creation model that links critical urban planning, community building, environmental and ecological issues, contemporary art and culture with local identities and visions. With this new strategy, Manifesta maintains its nomadic nature but turns towards co-creation with artistic communities, local citizens, grassroots organisations and institutional partners and towards the transformation of cultural infrastructures. Manifesta is thus developing itself as a platform for European cities that are seeking more social-cultural inclusion for their communities and citizens.

Introducing Manifesta

“Manifestare” or “Manifesto”, meaning in Latin “make something visible”, was a conceptual ideal by German Fluxus gallerist René Block, a member of our first Advisory Board who came up with the name – Manifesta.

Manifesta was conceived in the early 1990s as a nomadic, European biennial of contemporary art, responding to the new social, cultural and political reality that appeared in the aftermath of the Cold War, a period which historically divided Europe between East and West. Manifesta’s first ideas were born after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 during a time of European integration. A young generation of students in the 1980s was suddenly able to move freely all around Europe, enabling them to embrace mobility and anti-nationalism.

Manifesta was one of the first contemporary art biennials that actively promoted a dialogue between artists and art professionals from the separated East and West of Europe, creating a public debate on the future of the new, post-communist Europe. Manifesta gave access to a young generation of key players from Central and Eastern Europe through its advisory, artistic, organisational and curatorial structures. Its nomadic character enabled Manifesta to explore the cultural and geographical DNA of Europe and to become a dynamic platform for cultural exchange throughout the continent.