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

Antonin Artaud, FR

Following various bouts of nervous disorders, Antonin Artaud stated in 1921 that his problem was that of never managing to possess his mind ‘in its entirety’. In order to undermine the notion of a universalised rational mind, Artaud resorted to myths and magical thinking. La Bouillabaisse de formes dans la tour de Babel, for example, refers to the myth of the tower of Babel and the idea of a universal language. It was executed in Rodez while Artaud was constructing his own language. Meanwhile, the image in Le Totem originated in the idea of a wand come walking stick, which he got from his friend René Thomas and was believed to have been mentioned in the prophecies of St Patrick.

With Artaud, the artist as seer crystallised into the figure of the artist as pure victim of his own consciousness, while the links between spirituality, life, art and suffering became his leading themes. In his own words, L’Homme et sa douleur exemplifies ‘a sort of diminished copy of a sensation that has passed through him and that he wanted to draw naked.’ It shows a body reduced to a skeleton collapsing under pain as well as its double drawn on the left bottom of the page.