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.

Petrit Abazi, Piers Greville, Stanislava Pinchuk, RKS/AU/UA

Mitrovica is a divided city. North of the river Ibar lives an ethnic Serb majority. To the south, the population is largely ethnic Albanian. Though a bridge connects the two sides, it is seldom crossed.

Still heavily patrolled by representatives of the international peacekeeping force, it embodies the endemic disunity of post-conflict Kosovo and the political instability with which it goes hand in hand. Petrit Abazi, a Mitrovica-born curator, joins forces with artists Stanislava Pinchuk and Piers Greville to explore modes of reconciliation, repair and healing, placing two individual artworks inside the fluid and ambiguous political boundary of the river itself.

Pinchuk’s installation Europe Without Monuments presents an urban beach and playground in a city profoundly under-resourced for civic and recreational public space. Built from scaffolding, her structure echoes the forms of Bogdan Bogdanović’s Monument to Fallen Miners of both ethnicities, which towers over the city. Built in its inverse, the work considers the loaded legacy, tension and resonance of monuments in not only Kosovo, but also in Ukraine – the artist’s home country.

Greville’s What Is Here is a bridge embodied by the people themselves. Installing a frame in the middle of the river, the artist invites citizens from both sides of the city to swim in a relay of solidarity, together against the current. Meanwhile the action is watched over by two flags which present renderings of the surrounding terrain but claim no territory.