The dance was very frenetic, lively, rattling, clanging, rolling, contorted and lasted for a long time
dOCUMENTA (13) opens to the public in Kassel on June 9, 2012. For 100 days, over 150 artists from 55 countries and other participants from around the world will gather and present artworks, including sculpture, performance, installation, research, archiving and curatorial projects, painting, photography, film and video, text and audio works as well as other objects and experiments in the fields of art, politics, literature, philosophy, and science.
Statement by Artistic Director Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev
“dOCUMENTA (13) is dedicated to artistic research and forms of imagination that explore commitment, matter, things, embodiment, and active living in connection with, yet not subordinated to, theory and epistemological closures. These are terrains where politics are inseparable from a sensual, energetic, and worldly alliance between current research in various scientific and artistic fields and other knowledges both ancient and contemporary. dOCUMENTA (13) is driven by a holistic and non-logocentric vision that is skeptical of the persisting belief in economic growth. It is shared with, and recognizes, the shapes and practices of knowing of all the animate and inanimate makers of the world, including people. Participants of dOCUMENTA (13) come from a range of fields of activity. Most of them are artists, but some also come from the fields of science, including physics and biology, eco-architecture and organic agriculture, renewable-energy research, philosophy, anthropology, economic and political theory, language and literature studies, including fiction and poetry. They contribute to dOCUMENTA (13) that aims to explore how different forms of knowledge lie at the heart of the active exercise of re-imagining the world. What some of these participants do, and what they “exhibit” in dOCUMENTA (13), may or may not be art. However, their acts, gestures, thoughts, and knowledges produce and are produced by circumstances that are readable by art, aspects that art can cope with and absorb.”
documenta is a periodic art exhibition that began in the mid-twentieth century after the trauma of World War II. Its aim was to re-establish culture and the visual arts as a primary focus in society, and to reconnect Germany with the field of international contemporary art at that time. Its history is different from other exhibitions, mainly because it did not emerge from the nineteenth-century trade fairs or world fairs of the colonial period—bringing to the old European center the marvels of the world. It emerged instead within a space where collapse and recovery are articulated. Since its first edition in 1955, every five years documenta has been an exhibition of contemporary art from around the world, as well as a moment to reflect on the relationship between art and society.
In Kassel, dOCUMENTA (13) takes place in some of the traditional main exhibition venues of the city, such as the Fridericianum, the documenta-Halle, and the Neue Galerie. But dOCUMENTA (13) also takes place in a variety of other spaces that represent different physical, psychological, historical, cultural realms and realities. It takes place in spaces devoted to natural and technical science, such as the Ottoneum and the Orangerie, and it takes place in little components throughout the magnificent wide green of the Baroque Karlsaue park. Counterparts to the park and their spheres of enlightenment are the industrial spaces behind the former Hauptbahnhof, once Kassel’s main train station, but now only used for local transport—a dystopian space connected to the factory world that produced the military tanks for the National Socialist regime in the twentieth century. And it takes place in a variety of “bourgeois” spaces of a different nature, off the main venues—places that are still in normal use, like the Ständehaus and the Grand City Hotel Hessenland, or, on the other hand, places that have been shut down and forgotten, like the abandoned Huguenot house or a 1950s cinema no longer in use. Furthermore, some parts of dOCUMENTA (13) will take place outside Kassel and these locations will be revealed on June 6. For Christov-Bakargiev, “these places, and some others that you will discover even outside Kassel, are phenomenal spatialities that embody four conditions in which artists and thinkers find themselves acting in the present—being “on stage” / “under siege” / “in a state of hope” / “on retreat”—unfreezing the associations that are typically made with those conditions and stressing their continual shifting.”
In the lead up to dOCUMENTA (13), the series of small books entitled 100 Notes – 100 Thoughts has been published together with Hatje Cantz. These 100 Notes – 100 Thoughts comprise facsimiles of existing notebooks, commissioned essays, collaborations, and conversations. They explore how thinking emerges in the space of the propositional. Authors include Michael Taussig, Donna Haraway, Judith Butler, Michael Hardt, Etel Adnan, Alexander Kluge, Suely Rolnik, Bifo – Franco Berardi, Vandana Shiva, and Eduardo Viveiros de Castro. On the occasion of the exhibition, a three-volume catalog will be published by Hatje Cantz: Catalog 1/3 – The Book of Books, which includes images, new essays and reprints of the 100 Notes – 100 Thoughts; Catalog 2/3 – The Logbook, which traces the making of dOCUMENTA (13) through images, correspondence and interviews; and Catalog 3/3 – The Guidebook, which provides a map and journey through the artists’ works and the project. For more information on publications: http://d13.documenta.de/#/publications/
The Maybe Education and Public Programs of dOCUMENTA (13)
dOCUMENTA (13) will include an extensive 100-day public program made up of congresses, seminars, lectures, activated projects, a writers’ residency, and a film program that will run for the duration of the exhibition. In particular, the opening week events from June 6 through June 10, 2012, will be followed by an intensive program of meetings and lectures on the topic of artists’ congresses from June 11 through June 15, 2012.
Thanks to the innovative Art Academies Network (ADERA – Les écoles supérieures d’art de Rhône-Alpes, Lyon; Finnish Academy of Fine Art, Helsinki; GradCAM Dublin; HEAD – Haute école d’art et de design, Geneva; Kunsthochschule Mainz; MaHKU – Utrecht Graduate School of Visual Art and Design; Malmö Art Academy, Lund University; NABA – Nuova Accademia di Belle Arti a Milano; Oslo Academy of Art – Kunstakademiet; Faculty of Fine, Applied and Performing Arts, University of Gothenburg; University of Leeds; Università Iuav di Venezia; Slade School of Fine Art, University College London), which supported the involvement of students in a series of activated artistic projects designed by artists, dOCUMENTA (13) is able to create a vital part of the exhibition and of the Maybe Education and Public Programs. “These projects are of the order of Maybe,” says Christov-Bakargiev. “They exist in between being art projects and educational or mediation activities.”
Special guided tours of dOCUMENTA (13) are available. These two-hour long dTOURS will be led by “Worldly Companions.” Mainly from Kassel, the Worldly Companions include people of different generations and with different backgrounds and knowledges. For example, how would a gardener of the Karlsaue park inspire and frame a dTOUR through the many artworks in the park? In addition, a series of special dTOURS will also be available and allow for different kinds of experiences, such as a ten-hour “endurance” dTOUR. Themed and venue-based dTOURS include: ‘Approaching reality and time’; ‘When you walk inside you see that it is filled with seeds’; ‘Measuring time, mapping space, creating sequences’; ‘Interrupted objects: what is left of things?’; and ‘Stations, transformations and the image’. The Worldly Companions who lead the dTOURS have taken part in an experimental project entitled the School for Worldly Companions throughout 2012.
For more information on dTOURS: http://d13.documenta.de/#dtours
A note on the Artistic Director of dOCUMENTA (13) and the makers of dOCUMENTA (13)
Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev was Senior Curator of exhibitions at P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, a MoMA Affiliate, from 1999 to 2001. She was Chief Curator at the Castello di Rivoli Museum of Contemporary Art in Turin from 2002 to 2008, and interim Director of the museum in 2009. She was the Artistic Director of the 16th Biennale of Sydney in 2008. Since 2009, she has been conceiving dOCUMENTA (13) with a group of agents and advisors, including core agents Chus Martínez (Head of Department), Ayreen Anastas & Rene Gabri, Marta Kuzma, Raimundas Malašauskas, Kitty Scott, Andrea Viliani, Sofía Hernández Chong Cuy, Hetti Perkins and advisors Donna Haraway, Anton Zeilinger, Iwona Blazwick, and Michael Taussig, amongst others.
Visiting dOCUMENTA (13)
The closest international airport to Kassel is Frankfurt/Main. A direct train from the airport (Frankfurt Flughafen) to Kassel takes approximately one and a half hours. Travelling by train, Kassel can be reached from all major cities in Germany in approximately three hours. For accommodation and further information:
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Public Programs: The Artists' Congresses, June 11–15, 2012. For more information: