Jumana Manna, CACHE (Insurance Policy), exhibition view, photo Luca Guadagnini ©ar/ge kunst



16.05.2019, 7pm

Curated by Emanuele Guidi

In her first solo exhibition in Italy, artist Jumana Manna continues her interest in systems of conservation and the politics of preservation practices, by tracing parallels between scientific and cultural environments.

Cache (Insurance Policy) (2018 – 2019) is an installation of existing and newly commissioned clay sculptures arranged throughout the space of ar/ge kunst. As the term ‘cache’ suggests, this work explores the acts of storing, hoarding and safeguarding both natural resources and cultural artefacts for survival, patrimony and economic benefit.

In the front room, cubic sculptures are positioned as museological fragments displaced from their architectural settings. These clay pieces are inspired by the ‘khabya’, a typical, though obsolete feature in rural Levantine houses. Before the advent of refrigeration, these storage chambers were used for the purpose of preserving grain for annual consumption. Exaggerating the protrusions and openings of these forms, Manna’s pieces take on an anthropomorphic quality and a scale closer to the human body.

In the second part of the installation, metal shelves and grids clad the backroom, displaying the khabyas within an environment suggestive of institutional storages, be they seed banks, ethnographic collections or museum vaults. Seed banks (repositories for crop seed samples) are at the centre of Manna’s recent work, including Wild Relatives (2018), a feature length film tracing the journey of a seed from the Norwegian island of Svalbard in the Arctic Ocean to the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon. In this iteration of Cache, the film sits alongside the khabyas on loop, integrated within the installation.

Jumana Manna uses the exhibition as a site to muddle the taxonomic impulses of grain storages, seed banks and museums, pointing to the transformation of systems of sustenance and knowledge from practices of survival to centralized economies of capital growth. The playful gesture of storing storages points to the ideological difference between the histories of storage and the imbalanced futures that accompany the act of preservation today.


Jumana Manna (b. 1987, USA) is a visual artist who lives in Berlin. She was awarded the A.M. Qattan Foundation’s Young Palestinian Artist Award in 2012 and the Ars Viva Prize for Visual Arts in 2017. Manna has participated in various film festivals and exhibitions, including Henie Onstad Museum, Norway, 2018; Mercer Union, Canada, 2017; Jeu de Paume and CAPC Bordeaux, France, 2017; SculptureCenter, USA, 2014; Marrakech Biennale 6, 2016; The Nordic Pavilion at the 57th Venice Biennale; as well as the 54th and 56th Viennale International Film Festivals, 66th and 68th Berlinale and CPH:DOX 2018, where Wild Relatives won the New:Visions award.