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.

Matyáš Chochola, CZ

The Czech artist Matyáš Chochola worked with the Thai boxing champion Azem Maksutaj at his gym in Winterthur, near Zurich. “It is hard to imagine an artist and a fighter getting on, but we were drawn to each other in a strange way, like magnets. Sport is at the edge of performance; the psychological aspects are the same,” the artist says. Azem Maksutaj’s fourteen wins as Muay Thai world champion reflect years of spiritual training as well as perfecting punches and kicks. In this work Matyáš Chochola detects a quality of devotion that is intrinsic to both martial and visual arts practice, and trace the stories latent in sports equipment and punching bags into sculptural intervention marked with the efforts and experiences of the people who have used them.