"The concept of 11 Rooms is based on a sculpture gallery where all the sculptures go home at 6pm." Hans Ulrich Obrist
11 Rooms is an evolving group exhibition that began life at Manchester International Festival (MIF) in 2011. For it, Hans Ulrich Obrist of the Serpentine Gallery and Klaus Beisenbach of MoMA PS1 brought eleven artists to Manchester Art Gallery and gave each one a “room” of their own to fill. Each artist did so by issuing a set of detailed instructions, played out inside the room by a cast of performers. During the exhibition itself, visitors wandered from room to room, encountering professional dancers, actors, war veterans and others engaged in a series of intimate, challenging and often physically demanding performances. It was an exhibition that pushed the boundaries of what we consider to be visual art, with the end result, in the words of Hans Ulrich Obrist, “like a sculpture gallery where all the sculptures go home at 6pm.”
Pollyanna produced 11 Rooms on behalf of MIF. Taking Obrist and Beisenbach’s initial concept, and drawing on her own performance background, she recruited a cast of over 100 performers. She represented the needs of the eleven artists – artists such as Marina Abramović, John Baldessari and Tino Sehgal – ensuring that each performance not only reflected their intentions, but came together into a coherent whole that matched Hans Ulrich Obrist and Klaus Beisenbach’s original vision. And as a project it required both creativity and pragmatism: alongside developing several brand new works (such as Revolving Door by Allora & Calzadilla and Ann Lee by Tino Seghal), tasks included an attempt to source a full cadaver on behalf of John Baldessari, liaising with the Human Tissue Authority to do so. 11 Rooms continues to develop; it became 13 Rooms in Sydney, for example, which Pollyanna also produced.