Manifesta purposely strives to keep its distance from what are often seen as the dominant centres of artistic production, instead seeking fresh and fertile terrain for the mapping of a new cultural topography.

Erik van Lieshout, NL

Mixed media installation at the General Staff Building

Dutch artist Erik van Lieshout decided to take up quarters for three months in the basement of the Hermitage Winter Palace which is famously occupied by a large community of cats. They have been part of the life of the museum for more than 200 years ever since Empress Elizabeth of Russia first brought cats in to fight an infestation of mice in the eighteenth century. The artist depicted them in drawings and photographs which were included in his installation, together with a video documenting a process he undertook to renovate and upgrade the cats’ living conditions.