Documenta 14 in Kassel

09/01/2017

So I finally made it to the Documenta, a contemporary art fair, taking place every 5 years in Kassel, Germany (and also in Athens this year... nope, I didn't go there as well).

The first one ever was organized in 1955 by painter and academy professor Arnold Bode who wanted to bring Germany back into dialogue with the rest of the world after the end of World War II, and to connect the international art scene with the help of contemporary art. This year's edition is the 14th.

 

I would compare the basic concept to our museum nights: You buy one ticket and have access to everything. Except that it's running for an extended period, during the day and that there are no special activities going on in the various venues. In general you will see a mix of the museum's own collection and the works that belong to the Documenta, which are usually created in 2016 and 2017. Sometimes they are categorized by topic, sometimes not.

To be absolutely honest I did not actually like it that much. There was nothing that blew my mind away and a lot of stuff where I had serious doubts as to what it was doing there. Anyhow, of course I found a few things that I did like so those I would like to share with you today.

 

One of the coolest things was definitely this "Greek temple", called the Parthenon of Books, which obviously was supposed to create a link between the two countries in which the Documenta takes place this year: Kassel and Athens.

 

 

And yes, it's created by using a metal construction and wrapping that in (historically relevant) books. And my friend told me that these are books which in the past have been banned in different countries of the world. Intriguing!

 

 

This is the local "Kunsthalle" and I wonder if this title always greets its visitors or if they especially changed it for the Documenta (I'm secretly hoping for the latter one... found out later that the letters usually say "Museum Fridericianum", the name of the building ).

 

 

Some of the locations had huge queues in front of them so we made sure we got there before 10am when it opened but even then we still had to wait in line for a little while until they let us into our first museum, the "Neue Galerie" (= New Gallery). This work is by Pavel Filonov from Poland.

 

 

Andrzej Wroblewski from Lithuania.

 

 

They also had bigger, well-known names like this work from German artist Joseph Beuys. Hmm, I guess he actually is a part of the permanent collection but anyway... as he died in 1986.

 

 

Next to the contemporary art you'd find pieces from for instance the 2nd century, here showing Buddha preaching. This made for an interesting contrast sometimes.

 

 

These are all books that were taken away from Jewish families under the Nazi regime of Hitler.

 

 

Masks seen in the Documenta Hall. I particularly liked the mask in the mask.

 

 

Just to give you an overall impression of the place (Documenta Hall).

 

 

Guillermo Galindo from Mexico.

 

 

With this work the artist wants to give us an idea about the travelling and living conditions that a lot of refugees have to deal with nowadays.

 

 

 

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