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.

Manifesta 13 Marseille was one of the only international biennials to take place during the global pandemic COVID-19, the biennial ended earlier than planned due to the second national lockdown

André Breton, FR

After May 1940, Marseille was home to refugees coming from across Europe to escape to the Americas. Many artists, musicians, writers and thinkers found refuge at Villa Air-Bel, run by the US-American journalist Varian Fry with the support of the Emergency Rescue Committee (today called The International Rescue Committee). There, they would bide their time until they were able to escape. Victor Serge even named the spacious residence ‘Château Espère-Visa’. At one point or another, the Villa’s guests included such notables as André Breton, Jacqueline Lamba, Oscar Dominguez, Victor Brauner, Jacques Hérold, Wifredo Lam, Max Ernst, André Masson and Marcel Duchamp. André Gomès was keeping their photographic diary. In its large library, the motley group would engage in playful collective activities: readings, games, riddles and anagrams of all kinds, but perhaps most notably ‘exquisite corpses’, which Breton defined as ‘a folded paper game that consists of having several people compose a sentence or a drawing, without any of them being able to take into account previous collaboration or collaborations.’ In the classic example that gave the game its name, the first sentence read ‘the exquisite corpse-drink-wine-new’. Though it started with text, the game soon encompassed drawings, collages and photographic fragments.