documenta 13: Art in the Middle of Germany

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The cat is out of the bag at last in Kassel. For a long time the theme of documenta 13 was a well-kept secret, but now the final preparations for this major international art event are underway. The art world will be gathering in Kassel again from 9 June 2012. Every five years, the city in the middle of Germany is transformed in a museum of contemporary art for 100 days. Since it was established in 1955, the documenta has come to be regarded as one of the most important and famous exhibitions of contemporary art in the world.

More than 150 artists from 55 countries and participants from all over the world will come together and present their multifaceted artistic positions at documenta 13. Up until 16 September, different venues in the city – the traditional Museum Fridericianum, the Baroque Orangerie, the green Karlsaue – will be presenting sculptures, paintings, installations and performances, as well as photography and films in such genres as aesthetics, art, politics, cinema, literature, science and philosophy. The exhibition is based on a concept developed by its artistic director, a task taken on for documenta 13 by Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev. The curator with Bulgarian-Italian roots comes from the USA. She sees the documenta as an open place for experiment, as a “stage to present questions that shape our notion of life in the present.”

With topics like politics, feminism, archaeology and world knowledge – subsumed under the overarching theme “Collapse and Recovery” – documenta 13 essentially hints at four main areas to be examined with the means of art. documenta’s visitors will be curious to see how political conflicts and the problems of broken national identities are treated by artists from Arab countries, Israel and Mexico. The documenta will be exploring new avenues in presenting art. Guided tours will be offered by so-called “worldly companions”. These are specially trained guides, people from very different walks of life – including doctors and police officers – who will accompany documenta visitors on their tour.


Photo:  © Kassel Marketing GmbH

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