Press releases


On this page you find current press releases of the documenta und Museum Fridericianum gGmbH as well as press material for download.


Should you wish to regularly receive communiques, require images of past documenta exhibitions or additional press materials on the various activities of documenta und Museum Fridericianum gGmbH, please send us an email to: press@documenta.de.


If you have any further questions or interview requests, please do not hesitate to contact us:

Karoline Köber
Acting Head of Communication and Marketing
press@documenta.de
+49 561 70727-4023

1 July 2021

Martine Syms at the Fridericianum

Martine Syms: Aphrodite’s Beasts
July 3, 2021 – January 9, 2022
Opening: Saturday, July 3, 2021, 11 am – 7 pm
Fridericianum, Friedrichsplatz 18, 34117 KasselMore

Martine Syms: Aphrodite’s Beasts
July 3, 2021 – January 9, 2022
Opening: Saturday, July 3, 2021, 11 am – 7 pm
Fridericianum, Friedrichsplatz 18, 34117 Kassel


Press Preview: Thursday, July 1, 2021, 11.30 am
Speakers:
Dr. Sabine Schormann, General Director of documenta und Museum Fridericianum gGmbH
Moritz Wesseler, Director of the Fridericianum


Born in 1988 in Los Angeles, Martine Syms has, in the last few years, emerged as one of the central and indeed defining figures in the recent international discourse on art and culture. In her interdisciplinary practice, which spans film, photography, installation, performance, and writing, the artist explores manifold, compelling questions in order to map out new perspectives on life and society. Through precise observation and in-depth research, Syms addresses the representation and reception of US-American identities and cultures, the theories and realities of feminism, conditions of interpersonal communication, and the impact of digital media on everyday life. Characterized by both conceptual and pop approaches, her work displays a distinct sense of humor without diminishing its urgency and relevance. Specifically developed for Kassel, the exhibition Aphrodite’s Beasts presents a comprehensive overview of the artist’s practice in Germany for the first time. Forming the backbone of the show are three film works that at times bear the stamp of expansive installations. Ugly Plymouths, a work created in 2020, introduces the exhibition. On three large flat screens mounted on poles, brief, sometimes intimate footage of everyday life in Los Angeles is used to narrate a one-act play whose title picks up on a phrase from the poem Hollywood by Beat poet Bob Kaufman (1925–1986). Syms’s protagonists are Hot Dog, Doobie, and Le Que Sabe, whose voices overlay the film singly or in conversation and speak of their daily concerns, promises, and temptations. Their utterances reference the form and content of text and voice messages of the digital age, revealing the simultaneous possibility and impossibility of communication and social interaction. Ugly Plymouths has strong immersive qualities, not least through the accumulation of sound and moving image and its embedding in a space flooded with red light.


In contrast, the work Lesson LXXV, realized in 2017, generates an entirely different effect. Presented in an endless loop, the silent film shows the artist in three-quarter profile against a plain black background. In the sequence, which lasts for only a few seconds, milk pours down Syms’s face, hairline, thin braids, and torso. Occasionally, the blinking of her down-turned eyes can be made out, while on her chin, smaller and larger drops repeatedly follow gravity or seemingly defy the Earth’s pull. Despite the barely perceptible action, a silent power is exuded by the image, recalling depictions of icons. However, the starting point of Lesson LXXV is a more secular theme. Here, the artist refers to the demonstrations against racist violence in the United States and other parts of the world, where protestors often pour milk over their faces to relieve the pain caused by the deployment of tear gas. The work thus suggests a highly political impetus that, due to its specific formulation, potentially offers a timeless appeal to humanity. At the same time, Syms contextualizes her production within art history by presenting the film on a flat screen mounted horizontally atop a cuboid sitting on the floor referencing Minimal Art. Running counter to the standard palette of the prominent art movement of the 1960s, the cuboid and adjacent windows are rendered in a deep purple, alluding to the women’s movement, Alice Walker’s 1982 novel The Color Purple,and the hue’s manifold meanings within the LGBTQIA community.


Just as Syms positions herself at the center of Lesson LXXV, acting as the conveyor of a message, she also takes on the role of protagonist in the film DED, completed in 2021. Thus, in the approximately sixteen-minute work presented as a screen projection, she appears in the form of an avatar created using a 3D scan of her body. Against the backdrop of an unfathomably vast space structured only by a horizon line, the viewer experiences Syms undergoing a constant alternation between life and death, resurrection and demise. Sometimes she dies as a result of a gushing emptying of the contents of her stomach or esophagus, sometimes through the use of a firearm or knife, and at others through a fall from a great height or an implosion. Over and over again, the animated figure manages to come back to life, regaining its strength to get up and keep going. These dramatic sequences are at times accompanied by a rousing pop composition in which Syms’s vocals metaphorically describe the various facets of life in the twenty-first century and the elementary conditions and questions of humanity that accompany it. The line MY BEATING HEART can be heard as well as I’VE BEEN WAITING FOR YOU HERE and I WANT TO GIVE AND RECEIVE.


Caught somewhere between life and death, hope and despair, power and powerlessness, DED evokes a grotesque, at times surreal image that certainly reflects the current atmosphere of global crises and catastrophes. With its observations, questions, demands, and fantasies, the work marks the closing point of the exhibition and offers impetus for an everlasting search. FIND A WAY can accordingly be read both on a frieze-like, luminous banner on the façade of the Fridericianum and on the strap weavings of the chairs that flank Syms’s cinematic works, alongside a group of six photographs. The latter feature the similarly deliberate, empathetic, cursory gaze that also informs the footage in Ugly Plymouths at the start of the exhibition.

9 June 2021

Victim or perpetrator? Theses on the National Socialist past of the curators of the first documenta exhibition

The digital conference on June 11, 2021 is dedicated to the history of the first documenta exhibition (1955) and the connection of its curators to National Socialism. The conference is a collaboration between the Kunsthochschule Kassel/Universität Kassel and the documenta archiv and can be followed via livestream on Youtube. More

The digital conference on June 11, 2021 is dedicated to the history of the first documenta exhibition (1955) and the connection of its curators to National Socialism. The conference is a collaboration between the Kunsthochschule Kassel/Universität Kassel and the documenta archiv and can be followed via livestream on Youtube.


Digital conference
Friday, June 11, 2021, 10 am – 5 pm
Livestream via YouTube (in German)
Moderation: Dr. Birgitta Coers and Prof. Dr. Kai-Uwe Hemken


The Kunsthochschule Kassel (Kassel College of Art, Art Studies) and the documenta archiv are organizing a public digital conference on the connection of the first documenta with National Socialism on June 11, 2021. The event focuses on the exhibition's co-curators at the time, Werner Haftmann and Kurt Martin, who demonstrably held NSDAP membership (Haftmann) or were employed as curators (Martin) during the Nazi dictatorship. In addition, the question is explored with what motivation works from the “Degenerate Art” exhibition were shown at the first documenta.


Three panels will discuss the related questions. Speakers include:
Ingo Arend, Wolfgang Benz, Tabea Brinkmann, Heinz Bude, Nanne Buurman, Nikola Doll, Christian Fuhrmeister, Dorothee Gerkens, Eckhard Gillen, Walter Grasskamp, Stefan Greif, Ayşe Güleç, Katja Häckel, Pia Jansen, Alexis Joachimides, Justus Lange, Stefan Koldehoff, Gerhard Panzer, Alexia Pooth, Volker Rattemeyer, Tessa Rosebrock, Thomas Rudert, Anna Rühl, Sabine Schormann, Sylvia Stöbe, Julia Voss, Lena Voss, and Alexandra Winterhoff.


Program


10 – 11.30 am
NSDAP-Mitgliedschaft und Kuration/Kustodie während der NS-Herrschaft
Moderation: Dr. Birgitta Coers, Prof. Dr. Kai-Uwe Hemken, Dr. Harald Kimpel
Speakers: Ingo Arend, Wolfgang Benz, Heinz Bude, Christian Fuhrmeister, Ayşe Güleç, Katja Häckel, Alexia Pooth, Tessa Rosebrock, Thomas Rudert, Sylvia Stöbe


11.30 – 12.30 am
Break


12.30 am – 2 pm
Wie lässt sich das Verhältnis der betroffenen historischen Personen zur modernen Kunst und Ausstellungen zur modernen Kunst definieren? Welche Rolle spielte die Kunstkritik?
Moderation: Dr. Birgitta Coers, Prof. Dr. Kai-Uwe Hemken, Dr. Harald Kimpel
Speakers: Dorothee Gerkens, Eckhard Gillen, Stefan Greif, Pia Jansen, Alexis Joachimides, Gerhard Panzer, Julia Voss


2 – 3 pm
Break


3 – 4.30 pm
Kontinuitäten. Netzwerk im NS: Kunsthandel, Sammler, Kulturpolitik. Werke der modernen Kunst als Bestandteil des Konvoluts „Entartete Kunst“ und als Exponate der ersten documenta
Moderation: Dr. Birgitta Coers, Prof. Dr. Kai-Uwe Hemken, Dr. Harald Kimpel
Speakers: Tabea Brinkmann, Nanne Buurman, Nikola Doll, Walter Grasskamp, Stefan Koldehoff, Justus Lange, Tessa Rosebrock, Anna Rühl, Lena Voss, Alexandra Winterhoff


4.30 – 5 pm
Fragen! Antworten? Fragen!… Welche Schlussfolgerungen lassen sich ausgehend von den Diskussionen und dem bisherigen Kenntnisstand ziehen?
Moderation: Dr. Birgitta Coers, Prof. Dr. Kai-Uwe Hemken, Dr. Harald Kimpel
Speakers: Heinz Bude, Nikola Doll, Eckhard Gillen, Katja Häckel, Pia Jansen, Alexis Joachimides, Stefan Koldehoff, Volker Rattemeyer, Sabine Schormann, Julia Voss



A collaboration between the Kunsthochschule Kassel/Universität Kassel and the documenta archiv, Kassel.


The conference is funded by the Fritz Thyssen Stiftung.


Download Press Release


Further information:
www.documenta-archiv.de
www.kunsthochschulekassel.de

28 May 2021

Vincent Fecteau at the Fridericianum

Reopening of the Fridericianum and beginning of the exhibition Vincent Fecteau
Opening: Thursday, June 3, 2021, 11 am – 8 pm
Fridericianum, Friedrichsplatz 18, 34117 KasselMore

Reopening of the Fridericianum and beginning of the exhibition Vincent Fecteau
Opening: Thursday, June 3, 2021, 11 am – 8 pm
Fridericianum, Friedrichsplatz 18, 34117 Kassel


Press preview:
We are very pleased to announce that the Fridericianum will reopen to the public on Thursday, June 3, 2021 with the new exhibition Vincent Fecteau. In this context, we invite you to an individual press preview of the retrospective show of the internationally acclaimed artist. Moritz Wesseler, Director of the Fridericianum, will be available as a discussion partner. In addition, there will be the opportunity to ask Fecteau questions in the context of a digital conversation. For both formats, appointments are available upon request at press@fridericianum.org.


Since the early 1990s, Vincent Fecteau has been making sculptures and collages from simple, sometimes everyday materials – such as newspaper clippings, papier-mâché, foam core, corks, popsicle sticks or shells – that display diverse manifestations. Some of his works are small-scale, rectilinear, monochrome or abstract, while others are expansive, intricate, colorful or narrative. They are the outcome of a long, intense creative process that begins with the selection and combination of materials. This is followed by the continuous and careful processing of these components until the multifaceted nature of each object is articulated. Often, the properties of the chosen media and the manual production method are visible here. During the production process, Fecteau does not subject himself to any conceptual framework. His action is guided by intuitive reactions to the various media. The results of this approach are often difficult to describe in words. What at first sight appears to clearly be within our grasp, defies classification upon closer inspection. This circumstance plays a part in the enigmatic nature of the formulations and tempts one to engage in the manifold associations the artist’s sculptures and collages generate. The objects evoke images of model-like architectures, stages and showcases, but also of bodies, limbs and organs. However, these notional associations and ideas are very hazy and largely dissolve swiftly into abstractions. Despite their ambiguities, the works repeatedly reveal references to the formal languages and approaches of historical tendencies. Thus, allusions to the avantgarde movements of the early 20th century can be discerned just as can references to post-war art or postmodernism. At no point, however, does Fecteau give the impression he is indulging in reminiscence. Quite the opposite. The works leave no doubt that they are testaments to their time. This can be detected both in their formal characteristics and in the exploration of queer forms of identity, life and culture often manifested in them. In this regard, Fecteau’s preoccupation with values, ideas and perspectives that can be located beyond heteronormative worldviews is informed by his personal experience of the AIDS crisis of the 1980s and 1990s, as well as the social changes accompanying it. The importance of his works for contemporary art discourse thus results not only from their compositional finesse, poetic force and pronounced obduracy, but equally from their sociopolitical aspirations and their basic empathetic stance.


Vincent Fecteau was born in 1969 in Islip, New York, and now lives in San Francisco. From 1987 to 1992 he studied at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut. As early as 1993, he participated in group exhibitions, which were followed by his first solo show at Kiki Gallery in San Francisco in 1994. The show The Scene of a Crime at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles in 1997 marked the start of the reception of his work within a museum-related context. His first international exposure came with his participation in the Whitney Biennial in 2002, followed by focused presentations at the Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven in 2004, the Art Institute of Chicago in 2008, Inverleith House in Edinburgh in 2010, Kunsthalle Basel in 2015, the Vienna Secession in 2016 and the CAA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts in San Francisco in 2019. In Germany, an institutional appreciation of Fecteau’s artistic work has so far been lacking. The exhibition at the Fridericianum aims to remedy precisely this. Based on over sixty selected works created between 1993 and 2020, the show will provide a comprehensive overview of Fecteau’s oeuvre.


The press preview takes place under the guidance of required hygiene regulations.

27 April 2021

On April 29, 2021, documenta archiv will launch Platform6, a virtual platform created in honor of Okwui Enwezor. This dynamic and evolving online project is intended as a place for animated discussion about Documenta11 and the current relevance of its discourses.

As of April 29, Platform6, the virtual platform for Documenta11, will be accessible at www.documenta-platform6.de. As an open, growing project, the web platform will explore the exhibition curated by Okwui Enwezor in 2002 and the continuing relevance of questions raised at the time. The focus is on discourses about truth, globalization, forms of collectivity and solidarity. Platform6 sees itself as a tribute to Okwui Enwezor, who died in Munich on March 15, 2019, his theoretical approaches, and his curatorial legacy. More

As of April 29, Platform6, the virtual platform for Documenta11, will be accessible at www.documenta-platform6.de. As an open, growing project, the web platform will explore the exhibition curated by Okwui Enwezor in 2002 and the continuing relevance of questions raised at the time. The focus is on discourses about truth, globalization, forms of collectivity and solidarity. Platform6 sees itself as a tribute to Okwui Enwezor, who died in Munich on March 15, 2019, his theoretical approaches, and his curatorial legacy.


The virtual platform brings together historical material from the documenta archiv, including catalog essays, texts, videos, and photos. In addition, there are new contributions by curators, artists, and Enwezor’s collaborators, such as Thomas Hirschhorn, Alfredo Jaar, Isaac Julien, Geeta Kapur, Wilfried Kuehn, Sarat Maharaj, Mark Nash, Monica Narula, Annie Paul, Yinka Shonibare, Terry Smith, Stephanie von Spreter and Vivan Sundaram. Artists, critics, art-historians, and former colleagues of Okwkui Enwezor, as well as members of the general public, are invited to submit materials to the website. By providing free access to texts from the years 2001/02 on the platform, the documenta archiv is also meeting the requirements of a contemporary Open Access Policy for the first time.


Platform6 builds on the idea of international discussion platforms initiated by Okwui Enwezor and his curatorial team on the occasion of Documenta11. In the run-up to the exhibition, they had organized four of these that focused on current political, social, and artistic topics: Democracy Unrealised in Vienna in March/April 2001; Truth and Reconciliation in New Delhi in May 2001; Creolité and Creolization in St. Lucia in January 2002; and Under Siege: Four African Cities. Freetown, Johannesburg, Kinshasa, Lagos in Lagos in May 2002. Documenta11 in Kassel from June to September 2002 then functioned as the fifth platform, which opened up to global themes in a unique way and is considered the first exhibition of its kind to focus on decidedly non-European and postcolonial perspectives. Okwui Enwezor can be seen as the initiator and ambassador of this internationalization.


As early as 2011, Enwezor’s co-curators Ute Meta Bauer, Mark Nash, and project manager Angelika Nollert envisioned a possible sixth platform as a place for self-reflection, analysis, and retrospection on the exhibition. Before his untimely death, Okwui Enwezor himself returned to Kassel with this intention. “Together with ruangrupa, the Artistic Direction of documenta fifteen planned for 2022, we enthusiastically embraced his idea. With Platform6, we not only want to honor his work posthumously, but also create a lively forum for exchange on his approaches. Particularly in view of documenta fifteen, there are interesting points of intersection, but also differences with regard to topics such as globality, collectivity and participation.” – Dr. Sabine Schormann, General Director of documenta and Museum Fridericianum gGmbH.


“The motto of the sixth platform should be ‘reculer pour mieux sauter’ — looking back to look forward. We are using the occasion to reframe the most urgent questions in our practice, just as Documenta11 allowed us to rethink our political, cultural, and aesthetic engagement.” – Mark Nash, Enwezor's co-curator at Documenta11 and co-initiator of Platform6.


“The basis of the virtual platform is the documenta archiv’s holdings from the five platforms of Documenta11. Preparing these, making them accessible on the web, and supplementing them with contributions in a wide variety of formats was a wonderful task for everyone involved. Starting on April 29, 2021, interested parties all over the world are invited to virtually follow and participate in the ongoing discussion process and the results.” – Martin Groh, research associate at the documenta archiv, project coordinator for Platform6.


Dr. Birgitta Coers, Director of the documenta archiv: “The project has brought together international participants and can be considered a successful example of the fruitful, intellectually enriching collaboration between former curators, the Artistic Team of documenta fifteen, and the documenta archiv. The archive has responded to the discursive openness of Ewezor’s concept with a new policy of open access, and made not only the current contributions but also the platform texts of the time freely accessible.”


Okwui Enwezor (* October 3, 1963 in Calabar, Nigeria; † March 15, 2019 in Munich) was the artistic director of Documenta11, a curator, author, art critic, and lecturer. Selected curatorial activities are: 2nd Johannesburg Biennial (1997); Documenta11, Kassel (2002); 2nd Seville Biennial (2006); 7th Gwangju Biennial (2008); 56th Venice Biennale (2015); Director of Haus der Kunst, Munich (2011–18).



www.documenta-platform6.de


Download press kit



About documenta archiv
The documenta archiv was founded in 1961 by Arnold Bode and is dedicated to the archiving, documentation and research on modern and contemporary art and its sources. The focus is on the documenta exhibitions since 1955, curatorial practices and documentary strategies. In addition to the documenta materials, the archiv’s ressources include rich press collections, image and audiovisual media, a precious art library as well as numerous curator’s and artist‘s estates. The documenta archiv is part of the documenta und Museum Fridericianum gGmbH, with the City of Kassel and the State of Hesse as shareholders. As a member of the association „Arbeitskreis selbstständiger Kultur-Institute e.V.“ (AsKI) the archive pursues academic projects along its own collections and cooperates with universities and scientific and cultural institutes. In cooperation with the curatorial and technical staff of the gGmbH the archive realizes exhibitions on artistic and archival positions and related didactic programs.

18 March 2021

lumbung calling — a series of conversations marking the start of documenta fifteen’s Public Program

Starting on Saturday, April 3, 2021, the seven-part conversation series lumbung calling launches documenta fifteen’s Public Program, activated under the title Meydan. Each edition of the series is dedicated to one of the lumbung values: Local Anchor, Humor, Generosity, Independence, Transparency, Sufficiency, and Regeneration. The format dives deeper into the background of the artistic concept for documenta fifteen and illuminates the idea of lumbung from many different angles. Through conversations with a variety of guests, lumbung calling will explore the rich meaning of lumbung across multiple disciplines, points of view, and contexts within an artistic framing. The invited protagonists have faced major challenges and initiated true revolutions on various scales: academics, cultural activists, independent researchers, organic farmers, fishermen, and festival organizers, among others.More

Starting on Saturday, April 3, 2021, the seven-part conversation series lumbung calling launches documenta fifteen’s Public Program, activated under the title Meydan. Each edition of the series is dedicated to one of the lumbung values: Local Anchor, Humor, Generosity, Independence, Transparency, Sufficiency, and Regeneration. The format dives deeper into the background of the artistic concept for documenta fifteen and illuminates the idea of lumbung from many different angles. Through conversations with a variety of guests, lumbung calling will explore the rich meaning of lumbung across multiple disciplines, points of view, and contexts within an artistic framing. The invited protagonists have faced major challenges and initiated true revolutions on various scales: academics, cultural activists, independent researchers, organic farmers, fishermen, and festival organizers, among others.


lumbung calling will take place on the first Saturday of every month over seven sessions, from April to October 2021. The conversation series will begin digitally through documenta fifteen’s website and its social media channels YouTube and Facebook. As soon as the restrictions around the COVID-19 pandemic allow, lumbung calling will shift to a hybrid format and eventually take place as a physical event in Kassel.


lumbung as a set of values and a cosmology
With its unique shapes and styles, lumbung is an easily recognizable building in Indonesia, similar to a barn. In the official dictionary of the Indonesian language, Kamus Besar Bahasa Indonesia, lumbung is defined as “a container to store agricultural products, commonly rice, in the form of a house on stilts with walls of woven wood or bamboo.” This definition has implications for the way lumbung is interpreted: lumbung can be defined as a place to store harvested crops, particularly in agrarian societies. At the same time, this description confines the meaning of the word to a distinctive architecture. As a practice, however, lumbung transcends its physical appearance as a building and expands to include spaces beyond the agricultural. In Indonesia’s cultural discourse, the term lumbung is used to describe shared collective resources. Seen from this point of view, lumbung is not only a building or object but also a set of values and a cosmology that describes the living practice of a society. It is evidence of a communal life marked by the spirit of collaboration, and its characteristics can be traced back to premodern societies. Today, the accelerated development and modernization of predominantly capitalist modes of production demand a constant redefinition of values. lumbung calling asks how these values can be translated into artistic practice and open up new spaces for conversation.


First edition of lumbung calling: Local Anchor
The first lumbung calling on April 3, 2021, focuses on the value of Local Anchor. The metaphor of an anchor describes the value of soil in our globalized yet divided world: soil that enables roots to grow and connects trees located miles and miles apart. Just as trees echo each other’s signals, harvesting and cultivation methods can resonate with and be amplified by local wisdoms, bringing to life new resources, and developing diverse relationships with time. Guests Melani Budianta and Armin Salassa examine ways of challenging integrated models of political, social, and economic behavior in a discussion unfurling from the point of view of a seed to the tender voices of concerned mothers. The first edition of lumbung calling will be hosted by Jumana Emil Abboud and Mirwan Andan. The event will be held in English and translated into International Sign Language.


Melani Budianta is a professor of Literature and Cultural Studies in the Faculty of Humanities at the University of Indonesia and a member of the Inter-Asia Cultural Studies Society. Since the late 1980s, Budianta has undertaken research and writing focused on gender and cultural activism. Her articles have been published in academic journals, newspapers, and magazines. During the Asian financial crisis of 1997–1998, she participated in Indonesia’s women’s movement. In 2020, Melani Budianta presented her talk Lumbung Budaya Sepanjang Gang or Cultural Granaries Along the Alleys, organized by the Jakarta Art Council.


Armin Salassa is a farmer and activist in Bulukumba, South Sulawesi, Indonesia. In 2011, Salassa—along with farmers from the village where he was born—began implementing natural farming, an organic practice that has long existed in many other areas of the archipelago. Natural farming techniques combine scientific knowledge with wisdom, stories, and practices inherited from ancestors, removing the need for chemical fertilizers, pesticides, fungicides, and herbicides. Since 1993, he has worked as a community organizer in various locations throughout Indonesia and advocated for the denied rights of Indigenous people in Palu, Central Sulawesi. Since 2007, Armin Salassa has assisted community organizations in numerous Indonesian villages, including Aceh, Sumatra, following the 2004 tsunami.


Jumana Emil Abboud’s creative interests lie in oral histories, personal and collective stories, and mythologies, particularly folk tales and their sites of being and unbeing. Abboud uses storytelling, performative elements, and workshop methodologies in her artistic practice to investigate our relationship to time and place, to the human and non-human, exploring tools of memory, attachment, and dispossession amid the challenge for continuity within political, ecological, and cultural struggles. Her work has been shown at The Jerusalem Show; BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, England; Sharjah Biennale, United Arab Emirates; Istanbul Biennale, Turkey; and Venice Biennale, Italy, among many others. She has participated in art residencies including, Sakiya – Art/Science/Agriculture, Palestine; Delfina Foundation, England; Arts Initiative Tokyo, Japan; and Guestatelier Krone, Switzerland. Jumana Emil Abboud is currently pursuing a practice-led PhD at the Slade School of Fine Art, University College London.


Mirwan Andan is a member of ruangrupa, Artistic Direction of documenta fifteen.


Program
lumbung calling: Local Anchor
Saturday, April 3, 2021, 2.30 pm (CET), 7.30 pm (WIB), 8.30 pm (WITA)
With Melani Budianta and Armin Salassa, hosted by Jumana Emil Abboud and Mirwan Andan
In English with translation into International Sign Language
Livestream via Facebook, YouTube and the ruruHaus window


Further Dates
lumbung calling: Humor, Saturday, May 1, 2021
lumbung calling: Generosity, Saturday, June 5, 2021
lumbung calling: Independence, Saturday, July 3, 2021
lumbung calling: Transparency, Saturday, August 7, 2021
lumbung calling: Sufficiency, Saturday, September 4, 2021
lumbung calling: Regeneration, Saturday, October 2, 2021 ¬


Download Press Kit

17 February 2021

documenta fifteen welcomes five new lumbung members

Within the framework of documenta fifteen, the Artistic Team has approached collectives, organizations, and institutions from around the world to gather and practice lumbung. So far, nine lumbung members have been announced. After intensive exchange between them and the Artistic Team, as well as several conversations with the organizations concerned, five new lumbung members are proudly announced: Britto Arts Trust (Dhaka, Bangladesh), FAFSWAG (Auckland, Aotearoa), Instituto de Artivismo Hannah Arendt (INSTAR; Havana, Cuba), Project Art Works (Hastings, United Kingdom), and Wajukuu Art Project (Nairobi, Kenya). More

Within the framework of documenta fifteen, the Artistic Team has approached collectives, organizations, and institutions from around the world to gather and practice lumbung. So far, nine lumbung members have been announced. After intensive exchange between them and the Artistic Team, as well as several conversations with the organizations concerned, five new lumbung members are proudly announced: Britto Arts Trust (Dhaka, Bangladesh), FAFSWAG (Auckland, Aotearoa), Instituto de Artivismo Hannah Arendt (INSTAR; Havana, Cuba), Project Art Works (Hastings, United Kingdom), and Wajukuu Art Project (Nairobi, Kenya).


Each of the now fourteen lumbung members will share various resources to the collective lumbung (rice barn). Together, they will develop long-term conversations, in which the sharing of time, space, money, knowledge, care, or art will increase the well-being of each of their local practices and ecosystems, and of the lumbung network—during documenta fifteen and beyond. Working with different artistic approaches, as well as learning from other models of education, ecology, or economy, and related lumbung practices in different parts of the world is considered pivotal to lumbung.


Britto Arts Trust (Dhaka, Bangladesh)
Britto Arts Trust (Britto) is an artist-run non-profit collective officially founded in 2002 in Dhaka, Bangladesh, with a global reach as part of the Triangle Network. Britto Arts Trust is based in Dhaka, but works extensively in different locations across the country. Britto attempts to understand Bangladesh’s socio-political upheaval by exploring missing histories, cultures, and communities and collaborating with various partners. It responds by gathering knowledge and resources, sharing the collective’s thoughts and ideas, and creating artworks in connection and collaboration with local communities.


Over the past few years, Britto has concentrated on large-scale, long-term projects focusing on socio-political issues and engaging communities and participants from various spheres. One example is ZERO WASTE-FoodArt, which was established during the coronavirus pandemic. Since March 2020, this initiative has worked with a number of artists and art collectives to create socially responsible projects at various locations in Bangladesh and abroad. Britto seeds and promotes multiple interdisciplinary practitioners, groups, and networks. It provides an international and local forum for the development of professional art practitioners, a place where they can meet, discuss, experiment, and upgrade their abilities on their own terms. In response to the lack of suitable educational institutions in Bangladesh, Britto functions as an alternative learning platform for many artists who have gone on to produce highly experimental work. Starting with its connection to local roots, histories, and communities, Britto then engages with international events, such as the organization of the first Bangladesh Pavilion at the 54th Biennale di Venezia in 2011.
https://brittoartstrust.org/


FAFSWAG (Auckland, Aotearoa)
FAFSWAG is a Moana Oceanic arts collective committed to social change through arts and innovation, producing bespoke cultural activation that is cutting edge, culturally responsive, and socially relevant.


Operating across a multitude of interdisciplinary art forms and genres, FAFSWAG’s artists work collaboratively to activate public and digital space, speaking to their contexts as Queer Indigenous arts practitioners.
https://fafswagvogue.com


Instituto de Artivismo Hannah Arendt (Havana, Cuba)
The Instituto de Artivismo Hannah Arendt (INSTAR) emerged as an institution for civic literacy on May 20, 2015, from a public action called by the Cuban artivist Tania Bruguera where people read and discussed Hannah Arendt’s book The Origins of Totalitarianism for one hundred hours.


Since its inception, INSTAR has been thought of as a democratic and horizontal space, where decisions are made by consensus. “We are interested in claiming social justice and rights sometimes alien to the Cuban context, such as fair wages, a working environment that is maternity friendly, supporting independent projects and artists, respect for freedom of expression, the rescue of the historical memory of art and independent civil society, and building a project with people who think differently but want to make a country for everyone,” INSTAR say about themselves and their practices. INSTAR is a safe space that protects and connects other organizations, activists, and artists—acting like a living organism that breathes, feels, reacts, and has a memory. INSTAR’s work can be organized into three stages linked to its mission, which use different artistic expressions and allow the transformation of a chaotic vision into an unexpected order, a new order, from where a new future can be articulated:


Stage I: Training workshops to strengthen the capacities of artists, intellectuals, academics, citizenship, youth, and activist groups.
Stage II: Financial support for creators, associations, and independent projects through prizes and scholarships. Visibility, while making allowances for the current coronavirus pandemic, through INSTAR’s social networks. Taking a position against decrees 349, 373, and 370, with which the Cuban State restricts freedom of expression and creative independence.
Stage III: Reconstruction of the history of creative production, art, and independent activism through rescuing files and making them available to the public, free of charge.
https://artivismo.org/


Project Art Works (Hastings, United Kingdom)
Project Art Works is a UK-based collective of artists and makers. They produce and disseminate art underpinned by radical approaches to neurodiversity, rights, and representation. Project Art Works’ program evolves through supported studio practice and radiates out into multiple collaborations, exhibitions, co-commissions, movies, publications, and digital outputs. Personalized and holistic studio environments are recreated wherever a project takes place. The studio is a place of level hierarchy where events and happenings unfold, revealing the lived experience and creative potential of all those involved (https://vimeo.com/161897285). Artists and makers work together in purposeful collaboration through total communication that utilizes language or gesture, sound, signing, and empathy.


The collective interrogates and promotes creative and sustainable models of artist development and care through practice-based research, productions, and partnerships. The work of neurodiverse artists is disseminated via social media, digital platforms and cultural and care collaborations nationally and internationally. Through aspirational planning, free training, and advocacy, families and caregivers have opportunities to utilize their knowledge and skills to better navigate and harness health and social care systems and explore bespoke models of care that improve their lives.
https://projectartworks.org


Wajukuu Art Project (Nairobi, Kenya)
Wajukuu Art Project (Wajukuu) is a community-based organization situated in the Lunga-Lunga neighborhood of the Mukuru slum in Nairobi, Kenya. The project was established in 2004 by a group of artists with a common goal: to make Mukuru a place where children can thrive and to create employment through the production and sale of quality artworks.


Mukuru slum sits on a hillside below the factories that make up the industrial area of Nairobi. A nearby dumpsite draws youth from the slum, who are largely shut out from employment in the factories that pollute their community. Scavenging for items to sell is one of the few economic opportunities available to them. Many eventually turn to crime and selling drugs. Violence and sexual assault are all too common, jeopardizing their well-being and claiming the lives of many young victims. From this landscape, Wajukuu emerged, a testimony to the resilience and capacity of people to transmute suffering into beauty.


“Art is the backbone of Wajukuu. Art for us is not just a practice; it’s a way of life. Through art classes, Wajukuu empowers children and youth to use art to find their true selves, connect with their heritage, cope with challenges they face at home and in their community, speak out against injustices imposed on them, and envisage alternative futures. Our community library, the first in Mukuru, is a safe space for students and adults to study. We address various topics such as conflict resolution, crime prevention, culture practices, gender equality, health, teen pregnancy, and youth decision-making through documentary screenings and mural painting. By doing so, we create a platform for the community to fully participate in the issues affecting them,” Wajukuu Art Project say about their work.
https://wajukuuarts.wordpress.com/


Download Press Kit
Overview of lumbung members

13 January 2021

documenta fifteen is scheduled to take place from June 18 to September 25, 2022.


This statement was made by the General Director of documenta und Museum Fridericianum gGmbH, Dr. Sabine Schormann, confirming the dpa report of January 5, 2021, and responding to yesterday’s report on Deutschlandfunk Kultur.More


This statement was made by the General Director of documenta und Museum Fridericianum gGmbH, Dr. Sabine Schormann, confirming the dpa report of January 5, 2021, and responding to yesterday’s report on Deutschlandfunk Kultur.


“Together with the Artistic Team and the documenta committees, we are of course watching the developments of the coronavirus pandemic very closely,” Schormann said. “Preparations for documenta fifteen remain on track, and the entire team is highly motivated. As communicated in December, the only responsible approach is to closely monitor the developments of the coronavirus pandemic in order to be able to decide on further steps in summer 2021. At the moment, we are confident that the COVID-19 vaccines will enable a return to a life as normal as possible in the near future.”


We will keep you informed of any further documenta fifteen developments.

15 December 2020

documenta fifteen presents Visual Identity

Image Material for download


documenta’s visual identity is always eagerly awaited – as an expression of the curatorial approach of each new edition. On December 15, 2020, documenta fifteen (June 18 to September 25, 2022) will present its visual identity to the public. The graphic design, developed in collaboration with students, is inspired by documenta’s lumbung concept.


With the symbol of the hands, documenta fifteen’s appearance, which was developed out of the design concept of the Jakarta student collective Studio 4oo2, refers to the lumbung principle on which ruangrupa based its documenta, which is all about collective practices of sharing, solidarity and friendship.
lumbung is the Indonesian village practice where farmers store the surplus of their harvest in a rice barn for the future well being of the community, and distribute it according to collectively determined mechanisms. By taking lumbung not only as a theme, but as a practice, documenta fifteen aims to rethink ways of building sustainability of artistic practices around the world through sharing resources not just economically, but also in terms of ideas, knowledge, programs, and innovations. Principles such as collectivity and collaboration, resource development and fair distribution are at the forefront here.
The hands depicted in rope describe a communal society that has no limits and offers a sustainable process for the future. This core element of the visual identity for documenta fifteen expresses the attitude and gesture of lumbung. The design’s color palette was adapted from natural fabric dyes used for generations in Indonesia to manufacture traditional textile products. These colors were taken mostly from eastern Indonesia, where lumbung is still active.


Collective Development with Students
ruangrupa itself emerged in the mid-1990s from student networks at the art academies in Jakarta and Yogyakarta. For the artists’ collective, polyphony and the integration of the perspectives of the younger generation is key. Learning from this experience and background, in the end of 2019 ruangrupa invited students from Kassel and Jakarta to take part in developing documenta fifteen’s visual identity, instead of relying solely on established design agencies. From more than twenty submissions by individuals and groups, two design proposals were selected: Studio 4oo2 from Jakarta and kmmn_practice from Kassel.
The teams submitted two very different concepts and each has been given the opportunity to pursue their own approach. In the process, Studio 4oo2 was tasked with developing documenta fifteen’s overall design identity, while kmmn_practice was given the chance to implement their participatory approach for the visual appearance of the ruruHaus. In the early summer of 2020, the Studio 4oo2 students began their collaborative work with Berlin brand agency Stan Hema and documenta’s in-house designer Leon Schniewind.


Presentation in Film Clips and within the Public Space
documenta fifteen will be presenting its visual appearance by means of a film clip and features within Kassel’s public space. Among other places, it will be visible at the ruruHaus, the first venue of documenta fifteen: there it has been applied to the façade in the form of a large mural by Kassel graffiti and street art project KolorCubes. Further presences on large surfaces or advertising columns can be found in the urban space. The visual appearance and its development is presented in detail in this video.


Today, Tuesday, December 15, 2020, at 3 pm, a photo session with representatives from ruangrupa, Lord Mayor Christian Geselle, General Director of documenta und Museum Fridericianum gGmbH Dr. Sabine Schormann, and the documenta fifteen communications team will be held in front of the documenta Halle. This will purely be a photo opportunity, taking into account the hygiene and distancing regulations.
We kindly ask you to register in advance at presse@documenta.de.


The Chairman of the Supervisory Board of documenta und Museum Fridericianum gGmbH, Lord Mayor Christian Geselle, is delighted with the new visual identity: “documenta fifteen is now taking shape. Many interlocking hands stand for cohesion and a new togetherness. The magnificent transformation of the design into a mural on the ruruHaus sends out a clear salutation to the city from the ruangrupa curatorial team. It is a colorful and, above all, optimistic message pointing to the future at the end of a year that has been exhausting for everyone. And anticipation for the next, eagerly awaited documenta is growing.”


Studio 4oo2 on the Visual Design
“The lumbung concept is visualized in our design by the shape of the hand, a feeling part of our bodies, which is used in human activities such as holding, giving or hugging. The hand, directly or indirectly, plays an essential role in interactive processes between people. As a symbol it is directly linked to the concept of lumbung, a collective repository for the harvest produced by a community. These activities – harvesting, togetherness, sustainable support – all require the involvement of hands, just as the purpose of lumbung refers to the hand that connects people,” say Studio 4oo2.
Studio 4oo2 is a team of four students from Universitas Negeri Jakarta. The name “Studio 4oo2” (pronounced: “four-oh-oh-two”) is derived from the amount of money the students had to pay out in parking tickets (4,000 Rupiahs for two motorcycles) at the fast-food restaurant the team used as a workplace when developing their application, as this restaurant was the only place they could access 24 hours a day. The team consists of Angga Reksha Ramadhan, Larasati Fildzah Kinanti, Louisiana Wattimena and Rosyid Mahfuzh.


Press Release (PDF)

26 October 2020

Illumination of the Fridericianum with a film by Trisha Baga


Trisha Baga: Hope
Tuesday, November 3, 2020, 7 pm
Fridericianum, Friedrichsplatz 18, 34117 Kassel, GermanyMore


Trisha Baga: Hope
Tuesday, November 3, 2020, 7 pm
Fridericianum, Friedrichsplatz 18, 34117 Kassel, Germany


Under the title Hope, Trisha Baga will illuminate the Fridericianum in Kassel on November 3, 2020, with a film produced especially for the occasion. The work is a reflection on the state of our world today and, more specifically, a commentary on the U.S. presidential election taking place on the same date. Here, the artist, born in Venice, Florida, in 1985 and now living in New York, emphasizes her confidence in the future and ongoing change while remaining acutely aware of the prevailing challenges the world faces, as hope is not just about joyful expectation. The title can also be read as a reference to the political advisor Hope Hicks, who tested positive for COVID-19 in October 2020 before the virus was also detected in President Donald Trump and his wife, First Lady Melania Trump.


The approximately eight-minute film, which will be projected onto the facade of the Fridericianum in an endless loop using a series of powerful projectors, is characterized by a nonlinearity. Its point of departure is a series of shots in which Baga can be seen creating a clay model of the White House—a building that shares similar architectural features with the Fridericianum. These scenes are juxtaposed with footage of the clay replica in ruins. As the film progresses, the wreckage of this edifice becomes a projection screen on which various moving and fragmented images intermittently appear, including snippets showing President Donald Trump’s Twitter account, online news coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic, forest fires, the opening passage of the U.S. Constitution, speleologists equipped with spotlights, and snails making love. Over and over, the bright light of a scanner travels across the surface of this model of the presidential residence and seat of government, accompanied by the sounds of the data collection device.


Baga’s film reflects the markedly contrasting events, aspects, and moods of the present moment, which combine to form a new sense of unity within the work. The result is an echoing declaration in which, like in most of the artist’s works, the boundaries between film, painting, sculpture, and architecture, between the work of art and its surroundings, blur. The relevance of Baga’s themes is underscored through the work’s specific form of presentation as a widely visible illumination, one that gives rise to a resounding call for both hope and action.


We are pleased to be able to offer you a digital press interview with Trisha Baga in advance. If you are interested, please let us know by Thursday, October 29, 2020.


The event takes place under the guidance of required hygiene regulations.

23 October 2020

Presentation of the new outdoor sculptures at the Fridericianum by Alexandra Bircken


Alexandra Bircken: Top down / Bottom up
Presentation: Saturday, October 31, 2020, 3 pm
Fridericianum, Friedrichsplatz 18, 34117 Kassel, GermanyMore


Alexandra Bircken: Top down / Bottom up
Presentation: Saturday, October 31, 2020, 3 pm
Fridericianum, Friedrichsplatz 18, 34117 Kassel, Germany


Press Preview: Thursday, October 29, 2020, 11.30 am (the artist will be present)
Speakers:
Dr. Sabine Schormann, General Director of documenta und Museum Fridericianum gGmbH
Moritz Wesseler, Director of the Fridericianum


We look forward to your participation. Please register under press@fridericianum.org.


Over the portico of the Fridericianum in Kassel, between the allegories of architecture and philosophy, a shimmering green figure is caught in a handstand. It is a lacquered aluminum sculpture that was created especially for this location by the artist Alexandra Bircken, who was born in Cologne in 1967 and now lives in Berlin. The work immortalizes the action of a young gymnast, captured by Bircken with great precision using a 3D scanner to create a mold from which the sculpture was cast. The gymnast’s thrust-back head, straining arms, and taut, straight, upraised legs, convey the body tension that enables the dainty acrobat to defy gravity at great heights. The figure can be studied in more detail down below, where a counterpart to the roof-top gymnast is installed in the square in front of the Fridericianum. Situated a few meters from the portico steps, this second aluminum sculpture, cast from the same mold and also painted green, is identical to the high-flying acrobat above. However, unlike the figure on the roof, the one on the cobblestones is rotated 180 degrees: rather than balancing on her hands, she rises from the ground on the tips of her toes, her upraised, angled hands seemingly carrying the firmament. This pair of balancing gymnasts converses with and yet also counters the classical architecture of the Fridericianum and the outdoor sculptures from past documenta exhibitions installed around Friedrichsplatz. Titled Top down / Bottom up, these two sculptures form a single unit in a finely tuned interplay directly tied to Bircken’s investigations into the physical and psychological parameters of objects and beings, which she articulates in a unique, intense, and often surreal language of form.


The Fridericianum’s Interventions series invites artists to develop site-specific works that activate, accentuate, or transform previously unused spaces and visitor transit areas of the museum beyond the regular exhibition spaces. These site-specific works that include wall works, outdoor sculptures, and sound installations, remain on display for an extended period of time, with some becoming permanent features of the building.


The press preview takes place under the guidance of required hygiene regulations.

1 October 2020

Launch of Cataloguing Campaign –
Preparation of the documenta archiv Holdings for International and Interdisciplinary Research

On October 1, 2020, the documenta archiv will embark upon the comprehensive cataloguing and preparation of its holdings. This "cataloguing campaign" is planned to last for ten years. To this end, the State of Hesse and the City of Kassel intend to provide funding totaling EUR 5.4 million by 2030.
More

On October 1, 2020, the documenta archiv will embark upon the comprehensive cataloguing and preparation of its holdings. This "cataloguing campaign" is planned to last for ten years. To this end, the State of Hesse and the City of Kassel intend to provide funding totaling EUR 5.4 million by 2030.


Testimonies of the artistic and curatorial work surrounding the documenta exhibitions from 1955 to the present day are to be explored in greater depth and properly prepared and systematized in line with archival and scientific standards.


Angela Dorn, Minister for Science and Art of the State of Hesse:
"The State of Hesse sees the unique significance of Kassel's documenta in the world. Which is why we have undertaken great efforts to make the documenta Institute possible. The goal is to provide an appropriate venue for a systematic examination of this so important exhibition. The documenta archiv is pivotal in this development: it is a treasure which – with its sophisticated and scientific approach – makes the documenta a piece of art history, also in institutional terms. We are happy to support this key preparatory step making the documenta archiv accessible to national and international research.
The archive's holdings will form the core of the emerging documenta Institute and facilitate the excellent research to be conducted there. "The City of Kassel is proud that the documenta archiv along with the Bauhaus Archive are among the oldest and most important art archives in Germany," says Lord Mayor Christian Geselle. "It is very important to us to make it fit for the future."
The archive's holdings primarily reflect the history of documenta exhibitions. At the same time, however, the documenta archiv is also a documentation center for contemporary art and curatorial work in general, and thus an invaluable resource for art and cultural studies and research into the reception of exhibitions.

The cataloguing is of crucial importance for the documenta Institute

Commenting on the cataloguing campaign Dr. Sabine Schormann, General Director of documenta und Museum Fridericianum gGmbH, said: "Making the unique holdings of the documenta archiv accessible to academia through in-depth cataloguing while also making them tangible for the general public and urban society is a prerequisite for a lively exchange between science and art, and indeed one that is increasingly in evidence at documenta exhibitions themselves as a rapprochement between these two disciplines.
The first steps towards opening the archive were already taken after the former municipal documenta archiv was affiliated with documenta gGmbH in 2016: Exhibition cooperations were initiated, event series established, a reading room set up and a comprehensive website developed. Now the next key step towards opening up the holdings to a wide circle of users is being taken by means of this cataloguing campaign.

The cataloguing campaign creates international standards

The in-depth cataloguing is accompanied by the launch of the hitherto missing digital infrastructure and a professional data capture system. This includes the recording of the holdings in archive databases, rights analysis and management as well as measures for cataloguing and archiving digital documents.
Founding Director of the documenta Institute, Prof. Dr. Heinz Bude, states: "As an interdisciplinary research institute, the documenta Institute is particularly reliant on the indexing of its archive holdings in accordance with international standards. It is tremendous that these foundations are now being laid so decisively."
"I look forward to working with the team to take on the cataloguing of the valuable holdings. Gearing the documenta archiv up to the future in this way will make it more attractive and, in the best sense, inspire artists, curators and collectors to make further bequests and estates," says Dr. Birgitta Coers, who will take up the post of Director of the documenta archiv on October 1, 2020.

A total of 560 running meters of shelving, 50 terabytes of digital media and 42,000 media units will be catalogued

The cataloguing campaign includes all departments of the documenta archiv: In the records and papers archive, the documents from the first documenta exhibition up to documenta 14 as well as extensive bequests and estates, such as that of documenta founder Arnold Bode, and the collection of press cuttings are to be viewed, recorded and indexed in depth. A total of around 560 running meters of shelving of archival material with over 45,000 indexing units will be processed
Awaiting systematic structuring in the media collection are over 50 terabytes of digital image and audiovisual media which will then be transferred to a digital archive. Finding aids will be created for more than 65,000 paper prints of photographs, slides and negatives as well as more than 5,000 storage carrier of various kinds. Accessible among other things will be the over 3,000 photographs by Kassel-based photographer Monika Nikolic, which comprehensively document documenta exhibitions 7 to 14.
About 40% of the library's entire holdings (about 42,000 media units), mainly monographs on artists, are still to be recorded bibliographically. This process will be accompanied by conservation measures.
This will make it possible to answer and resolve more quickly those questions typically asked of the archive material such as: What material is a particular artwork made of? How was it staged? Is there an image of a particular artwork and what about the rights of use? Correspondence between the curators and artists, sketches and instructions, video recordings of events and documentation of exhibition situations provide information on past exhibitions and the processes unfolding "behind the scenes".
In addition, ongoing artistic and social discussions can be promoted and their historical dimension examined.

Further information on the history of the documenta archiv and the cataloguing campaign (in German) can be found here.

Press images can be downloaded here.

22 September 2020

Press Invitation: Tarek Atoui at the Fridericianum

Waters’ Witness
October 3, 2020 – January 17, 2021
Opening Weekend: Saturday, October 3, 2020, 11 am–7 pm and Sunday, October 4, 2020, 11 am–6 pm
Fridericianum, Friedrichsplatz 18, 34117 Kassel, Germany
More

Waters’ Witness
October 3, 2020 – January 17, 2021
Opening Weekend: Saturday, October 3, 2020, 11 am–7 pm and Sunday, October 4, 2020, 11 am–6 pm
Fridericianum, Friedrichsplatz 18, 34117 Kassel, Germany


Press Preview: Thursday, October 1, 2020, 11.30 am (the artist will be present)
Speakers:
Dr. Sabine Schormann, General Director of documenta und Museum Fridericianum gGmbH
Moritz Wesseler, Director of the Fridericianum


We look forward to your participation. Please register under press@fridericianum.org


Tarek Atoui comprehensively exploits the potential of sound art, which lies at the heart of his practice. He is not only interested in how audio events or sounds develop an acoustic effect. Equally important to him is how these phenomena can be perceived with sensory organs other than the ear, how they act as a catalyst for human interaction, and how they relate to social, historical, or spatial parameters. The point of departure for his works is usually comprehensive anthropological, ethnological, musicological, or technical research, which results in the realization of instruments, listening rooms, performances, or workshops, thus constituting an exceptionally multifaceted oeuvre.


The Fridericianum presents Waters’ Witness, the first solo exhibition in Germany of the work of Atoui, who was born in Beirut in 1980 and now lives in Paris. The show is based on Atoui’s ongoing project I/E, where the artist has been researching and documenting the sounds of ports in Athens, Abu Dhabi, Singapore, Porto, and Beirut since 2015, processing and transforming these recordings into works. Previously separate components of this project are brought together in Kassel, where audio recordings from the harbors of Athens and Abu Dhabi are combined with materials—marble blocks and steel girders—gathered from each site to form a single unit with the surrounding space. In Waters’ Witness, space, sound, and objects become physically and sensorially perceptible, creating a basis for multi-layered associations, memories, and (self)-reflections.


The installation is complemented by The Tables of Contents (2020). In this work, presented to the public for the first time, the central themes of participation, education, and experimentation in Atoui’s work are clearly articulated. Here, two apparatuses in the form of tables, as indicated by the title, are equipped with various objects that can be operated, including pottery discs, metal pins, and springs, as well as specially constructed instruments. Under expert guidance, visitors can use these objects to actively generate new sounds and modify existing ones. These sounds then flow into the exhibition, becoming part of the installation and inspiring new contributions and interventions.


Tarek Atoui’s career as an artist, who studied contemporary music from 2000 to 2003 at the Conservatoire national français in Reims, has been closely linked to the city of Kassel. In 2012 he participated in dOCUMENTA (13), realizing the performance Metastable Circuit 1 in the urban space of the city and installing La Lutherie, an artistic musical experiment, in the Orangerie. Atoui has participated in numerous exhibitions and projects at international venues, including the Tate Modern in London (2016), the Fundação de Serralves in Porto (2018), the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York (2019), and the 58th Venice Biennale (2019). The artist was recently awarded the Suzanne Deal Booth / FLAG Art Foundation Prize, and in response to this, a solo exhibition of Atoui’s work will take place at the Sharjah Art Foundation parallel to the show at the Fridericianum.


The presentation in Kassel is generously supported by Hessische Kulturstiftung: “Natural and artificial sounds penetrate our ears every day. The artist Tarek Atoui makes the origins of this multifaceted, differentiated world of sound tangible. Visitors to the exhibition at the Fridericianum will gain an impression of the complex network of sounds as an expression of social norms, individuals, and designed and natural environments. With his sound installations and instruments, the artist brings to our ears the results of his musical experiments while also testing the other senses for their acoustic tuning.” Eva Claudia Scholtz, Managing Director of the Hessische Kulturstiftung


In addition, the exhibition is patronized with a lot of commitment by the Bureau des arts plastiques of the Institut français and the French Ministry of Culture.

12 August 2020

Independent Research Institute for Exhibition Studies in Kassel: Prof. Dr. Heinz Bude appointed Founding Director of the documenta Institute


The State of Hesse, the City of Kassel, Kassel University with Kunsthochschule Kassel and documenta und Museum Fridericianum gGmbH have appointed the acclaimed sociologist Prof. Dr. Heinz Bude as Founding Director of the documenta Institute. Bude’s first tasks include formulating a concrete program and developing the internal and external organizational structures of the documenta Institute, which was founded by the four partners as an independent academic research institution. More


The State of Hesse, the City of Kassel, Kassel University with Kunsthochschule Kassel and documenta und Museum Fridericianum gGmbH have appointed the acclaimed sociologist Prof. Dr. Heinz Bude as Founding Director of the documenta Institute. Bude’s first tasks include formulating a concrete program and developing the internal and external organizational structures of the documenta Institute, which was founded by the four partners as an independent academic research institution.


Bude stands for a brand of science open to a diagnosis of our times gaining prominence with contributions on the issues of social division, regional desertification and global societal dislocation. In 2016, he was awarded the Prize of the German Sociological Association for outstanding achievements in the field of public impact of sociology. Since 2000 he has taught Macrosociology at the University of Kassel.


Prof. Dr. Heinz Bude emphasized at his introduction presentation in Kassel: “The unique opportunity for the documenta Institute is that it views documenta as a model for the exhibition of contemporary art and thus addresses the global social phenomenon of the biennialization of the art field. The interplay between archive, research and urban social participation will create a laboratory for research into contemporaneity through the presentation of contemporary art.”


Lord Mayor Christian Geselle: “In Prof. Dr. Heinz Bude we were able to enlist one of Germany’s most distinguished sociologists as Founding Director of the documenta Institute. This is of great importance for the world art exhibition and our city of art and culture, Kassel. We are delighted that he has been connected to our city through his teaching activities for 20 years now and will remain so in future. I look forward to the impulses Prof. Bude will inject into the future institute.”


Angela Dorn, Hesse’s Minister of State for Higher Education, Science and the Arts: “I am extremely pleased that Prof. Dr. Heinz Bude has agreed to take on the role of Director of the documenta Institute in its foundation phase. With him at the helm, the institute can become a place where an archive meets its art and where research is conceived and carried out as part of social discourse. I look forward to productive discussions and – together with the other partners – I am curious to discover the profile this new Founding Director will give the emerging Institute.”


Prof. Dr. Reiner Finkeldey, President of the University of Kassel: “We recently outlined the framework for the documenta Institute, and now we are giving the institute a face. I am extremely pleased that Prof. Bude is taking on this task. He is one of the most astute and incisive analysts, both in Germany and internationally, of current events, the development of global society and its forms of expression. In him the Institute will have a Founding Director who will vigorously promote its development as an interdisciplinary research institute with international reach. For the institute, for the university and for the city, this appointment is of enormous benefit.”


General Director of documenta und Museum Fridericianum gGmbH Dr. Sabine Schormann: “Prof. Dr. Heinz Bude brings with him excellent experience both in terms of content and structure enabling him, together with all partners, to develop the institute and orient it towards the future. I very much look forward to working with him and would also like to take this opportunity to thank the University of Kassel, which has enabled Prof. Bude to be available to the documenta Institute during the foundation phase.”


Image material, Prof. Dr. Heinz Bude’s biography and list of publications as well as his speech can be downloaded here. Additional images of the event will be available around 4 pm. You can also access the livestream of the press conference in retrospect here.


About the documenta Institute
The documenta Institute is being developed in a cooperation between the State of Hesse, the City of Kassel, documenta und Museum Fridericianum gGmbH and the University of Kassel with Kunsthochschule Kassel with financial support for the building project from the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media.


The starting point for the documenta Institute is the holdings of the documenta archiv, which is being developed into an extramural research institute. The documenta archiv was founded in 1961 by Arnold Bode and is dedicated to the archiving, documentation and scholarly processing of text and image sources on modern and contemporary art, in particular the documenta exhibitions that have taken place since 1955. In addition to the documenta documents, the holdings include extensive press, image and audiovisual media collections, a unique art library and relevant bequests and estates.


The documenta Institute will initially be founded under the umbrella of documenta und Museum Fridericianum gGmbH and is intended to act in a cross-disciplinary manner to stimulate, conduct and further develop research related to the international exhibition business and documenta and to promote its public exposure.

4 August 2020

Press Invitation: Prof. Dr. Heinz Bude appointed Founding Director of the documenta Institute


The State of Hesse, the City of Kassel, Kassel University with Kunsthochschule Kassel and documenta und Museum Fridericianum gGmbH have appointed the acclaimed sociologist Prof. Dr. Heinz Bude as Founding Director of the documenta Institute. Bude’s first tasks include formulating a concrete program and developing the internal and external organizational structures of the documenta Institute, which was founded by the four partners as an independent academic research institution. More


The State of Hesse, the City of Kassel, Kassel University with Kunsthochschule Kassel and documenta und Museum Fridericianum gGmbH have appointed the acclaimed sociologist Prof. Dr. Heinz Bude as Founding Director of the documenta Institute. Bude’s first tasks include formulating a concrete program and developing the internal and external organizational structures of the documenta Institute, which was founded by the four partners as an independent academic research institution.


Bude stands for a brand of science open to a diagnosis of our times gaining prominence with contributions on the issues of social division, regional desertification and global societal dislocation. In 2016, he was awarded the Prize of the German Sociological Association for outstanding achievements in the field of public impact of sociology. Since 2000 he has taught Macrosociology at the University of Kassel.


In compliance with the prevailing hygiene and distancing rules, we cordially invite you to an introduction to Prof. Dr. Heinz Bude:


Wednesday, August 12, 2020, 10 am
Rotunda of the Fridericianum
Friedrichsplatz 18, 34117 Kassel


The event will be broadcast live on the documenta Institute’s YouTube channel and on the website www.documenta.de: www.documenta.de/en/news# (in German).


Speakers:
Lord Mayor Christian Geselle
Minister of State for Higher Education, Research and the Arts Angela Dorn
President of the University of Kassel Prof. Dr. Reiner Finkeldey
General Director of documenta gGmbH Dr. Sabine Schormann
Prof. Dr. Heinz Bude


Dr. Birgitta Coers, who takes up the post of Director of the documenta archiv on October 1, will also be present.
The introduction will be followed by a photo session.


Please note that, in view of the constraints resulting from the pandemic, we must limit the participation and ask for advance notice if you wish to attend this event. Please register at press@documenta.de and wait for a confirmation of participation.


A portrait of Prof. Dr. Heinz Bude can be downloaded here. Photo: Dawin Meckel.


About the documenta Institute
The documenta Institute is being developed in a cooperation between the State of Hesse, the City of Kassel, documenta und Museum Fridericianum gGmbH and the University of Kassel with Kunsthochschule Kassel with financial support for the building project from the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media.


The starting point for the documenta Institute is the holdings of the documenta archiv, which is being developed into an extramural research institute. The documenta archiv was founded in 1961 by Arnold Bode and is dedicated to the archiving, documentation and scholarly processing of text and image sources on modern and contemporary art, in particular the documenta exhibitions that have taken place since 1955. In addition to the documenta documents, the holdings include extensive press, image and audiovisual media collections, a unique art library and relevant bequests and estates.


The documenta Institute will initially be founded under the umbrella of documenta und Museum Fridericianum gGmbH and is intended to act in a cross-disciplinary manner to stimulate, conduct and further develop research related to the international exhibition business and documenta and to promote its public exposure.

27 July 2020

Change at the helm of the documenta archiv


Dr. Birgitta Coers takes over as Director of the documenta archiv on October 1, 2020.More


Dr. Birgitta Coers takes over as Director of the documenta archiv on October 1, 2020.


Art historian Birgitta Coers (born 1970) will be heading up the documenta archiv from October 1, 2020. Following her university career in Marburg and Tübingen, she has specialized in recent years in the physical and digital management of artists’ estates. After an initial posting in the Art Department of the Saxon State and University Library Dresden, she was commissioned by the Saxon State Ministry for Science and the Arts to develop a data model for the early legacy of artistic objects and writings, and coordinated the development of the Margot Fürst / HAP Grieshaber Archive at the Rottweil Regional Council. Most recently, she worked as a scientific archivist at the State Archives of Baden-Württemberg, where she developed instruments for provenance research.


Coers’ academic focus is on the art of the 19th and 20th centuries, cultural and political networks between East and West after 1945 and exhibition and institutional history. Furthermore, web-based publication strategies and digital research infrastructures are of particular interest to her from a library and archival viewpoint.


In accordance with the decision of the Finding Commission, the documenta archiv has been set up with the new direction as future-oriented institution – from both perspectives, the archival and art historical: “As director of the documenta archiv, it is my concern to prepare the exceptional holdings scientifically and make them internationally visible. I will always take the digital challenges into account looking forward to making the archive a lively place of knowledge within the planned documenta Institute," says Birgitta Coers.


Birgitta Coers replaces Nadine Oberste-Hetbleck, who will now not be taking up the post of director of the documenta archiv as planned on August 1, 2020. For family reasons, she has decided to remain in Cologne, where she will head up the Zentralarchiv für deutsche und internationale Kunstmarktforschung ZADIK (Central Archive for German and International Art Market Studies) at the University of Cologne, which she has been closely associated with for years. “I had already been looking forward to working in Kassel for the documenta archiv, which is one of the world’s leading art archives and one that holds great potential for the planned documenta Institute. However, my future position in Cologne and the professional ties that already exist pave the way for varied points of contact for joint projects and an intensive exchange,” says Nadine Oberste-Hetbleck.


Until Birgitta Coers takes up her post, the interim management of the documenta archiv will remain in the hands of Martin Groh, Head of the Scientific Department.


About the documenta archiv
The documenta archiv was founded in 1961 by Arnold Bode and is dedicated to the archiving, documentation and scholarly processing of text and image sources on modern and contemporary art, in particular the documenta exhibitions that have taken place since 1955. In addition to the documenta documents, the holdings include extensive press, image and audiovisual media collections, a unique art library as well as relevant bequests and estates. The documenta archiv is part of the documenta und Museum Fridericianum gGmbH with the shareholders the City of Kassel and the State of Hesse. The documenta archiv is being further developed into an extramural research institute in cooperation with the University of Kassel and Kunsthochschule Kassel. The documenta Institute is intended to stimulate, conduct and further develop research related to the documenta and to promote its public exposure. A new building is being planned.


A portrait of Dr. Birgitta Coers in printable resolution can be downloaded here. Photo: Fotofabrik Stuttgart

18 June 2020

documenta fifteen and lumbung practice. Announcement of the first lumbung-members

ruangrupa: lumbung Zeichnung: Iswanto Hartono, 2020

lumbung is the Indonesian word for a collectively governed rice-barn, where the gathered harvest is stored for the common good of the community. ruangrupa has built the foundation of documenta fifteen on its core values and ideas. lumbung, as a concept, is the starting point for documenta fifteen. Over the coming years, lumbung will be operational in the lead up to documenta fifteen in 2022, and beyond.More

lumbung is the Indonesian word for a collectively governed rice-barn, where the gathered harvest is stored for the common good of the community. ruangrupa has built the foundation of documenta fifteen on its core values and ideas. lumbung, as a concept, is the starting point for documenta fifteen. Over the coming years, lumbung will be operational in the lead up to documenta fifteen in 2022, and beyond.


At www.documenta.de/en/documenta-fifteen, ruangrupa gives an insight into how they understand and implement lumbung in their curatorial practice. Also, the first lumbung-members and the Artistic Team individually introduce themselves by sharing stories of their respective practices and how they connect to the wider project.

29 April 2020

documenta gGmbH enlists Dr. Nadine Oberste-Hetbleck as new Director of the documenta archiv

Dr. Nadine Oberste-Hetbleck will assume the post of Director of the documenta archiv as of August 1, 2020. She succeeds Dr. Birgit Jooss, who since summer 2016 has been in charge of the archive, only handed over from the custody of the City of Kassel to documenta und Museum Fridericianum gGmbH in early 2016. In her role, Oberste-Hetbleck will now also help shape the development of the documenta Institute, which will initially be under the umbrella of documenta und Museum Fridericianum gGmbH in cooperation with the German federal government, the State of Hesse, the City of Kassel and Kassel University.More

Dr. Nadine Oberste-Hetbleck will assume the post of Director of the documenta archiv as of August 1, 2020. She succeeds Dr. Birgit Jooss, who since summer 2016 has been in charge of the archive, only handed over from the custody of the City of Kassel to documenta und Museum Fridericianum gGmbH in early 2016. In her role, Oberste-Hetbleck will now also help shape the development of the documenta Institute, which will initially be under the umbrella of documenta und Museum Fridericianum gGmbH in cooperation with the German federal government, the State of Hesse, the City of Kassel and Kassel University.


Dr. Nadine Oberste-Hetbleck (born 1978) has held the Junior Professorship of “Art History and Art Market” in the Department of Art History at Cologne University since 2015. Furthermore, she was scientific head of the affiliated institute Zentralarchiv für deutsche und internationale Kunstmarktforschung ZADIK (Central Archive for German and International Art Market Research) until its transfer to the University of Cologne in 2020. As part of her previous research and activities, Oberste-Hetbleck is particularly concerned with historical and contemporary art market structures as well as contemporary exhibitions. She therefore brings relevant experience to the management of the documenta archiv and the further development of the archive into a research institute. In her teaching role in the Department of Art History, Dr. Nadine Oberste-Hetbleck was responsible for the master’s core module Art Market developing formats focusing on the mediation of archive topics. The documenta and its history were also a recurring focus.


Her work covers interdisciplinary research, innovative approaches and international networking: “Interdisciplinarity, digitization and cooperation have always been of great concern to me. I am very much looking forward to incorporating this focus into the future design of the documenta archiv. With its unique holdings on the world art exhibitions, the archive will form the nucleus of the newly emerging documenta Institute. On the path to this goal, it is important to work intensively with the holdings, to make them accessible and to actively use them for mediation and research,” says Nadine Oberste-Hetbleck.


The shareholders of documenta und Museum Fridericianum gGmbH, the City of Kassel and the State of Hesse welcome the Finding Commission’s choice. Chairman of the Supervisory Board at documenta gGmbH Lord Mayor Christian Geselle states: “With Dr. Nadine Oberste-Hetbleck, Kassel is gaining a talented archive manager and art historian. I am convinced that with her expert knowledge she will be able to further develop and shape the documenta archiv, in particular when establishing the documenta Institute.”


Angela Dorn, Hesse’s Minister of State for Higher Education, Research and the Arts, is certain: “Dr. Nadine Oberste-Hetbleck will use her expertise in the field of art history and archive mediation to make the holdings of the unique documenta archive visible nationally and internationally and make them fruitful for the documenta Institute. We look forward to working with her”.


Dr. Sabine Schormann, Director General of documenta und Museum Fridericianum gGmbH, emphasizes: “The Finding Commission was able to choose from a very good field of applicants. The key factor in its unanimous decision was ultimately the fact that Dr. Nadine Oberste-Hetbleck can look back on extensive experience in the various fields required by this specific archive and its upcoming development challenges.” Nadine Oberste-Hetbleck will take up her post on August 1, 2020. Until then, the interim management will remain with the head of the scientific department, Martin Groh.


About the documenta archiv
The documenta archiv was founded in 1961 by Arnold Bode and is dedicated to the archiving, documentation and scholarly processing of text and image sources on modern and contemporary art, in particular the documenta exhibitions that have taken place since 1955. In addition to the documenta documents, the holdings include extensive press, image and audiovisual media collections, a unique art library as well as relevant bequests and estates. The documenta archiv is part of the documenta und Museum Fridericianum gGmbH with the shareholders the City of Kassel and the State of Hesse. The documenta archiv is being further developed into an extramural research institute in cooperation with the University of Kassel and Kunsthochschule Kassel. The documenta Institute is intended to stimulate, conduct and further develop research related to the documenta and to promote its public exposure. A new building is being planned.


A portrait of Dr. Nadine Oberste-Hetbleck in printable resolution can be downloaded here. Photo: Helmar Mildner.

6 February 2020

documenta archiv receives Bazon Brock’s premature legacy
Hubert Burda funds indexing

The documenta archiv has received as a gift the important legacy of thinker, art mediator, art critic, artist and professor Bazon Brock. Amongst other things, Bazon Brock founded the documenta “Besucherschulen” (Visitors’ Schools) thereby establishing the mediation of contemporary art as a critical independent practice with overarching cultural objectives.More

The documenta archiv has received as a gift the important legacy of thinker, art mediator, art critic, artist and professor Bazon Brock. Amongst other things, Bazon Brock founded the documenta “Besucherschulen” (Visitors’ Schools) thereby establishing the mediation of contemporary art as a critical independent practice with overarching cultural objectives.

The now presented comprehensive premature legacy is testimony to Bazon Brock’s decades of work at his cultural institution the “Denkerei” in Berlin and at his studio in Wuppertal. The legacy includes screen-prints, correspondence, slides, photos, teaching materials, image and sound material, publications, press clippings, art objects, digital data as well as 2,000 titles from his library with comments and notes permitting an insight into his modus operandi. For the documenta archiv, which belongs to documenta und Museum Fridericianum gGmbH, acquisition of this comprehensive collection means a valuable addition to its core inventory, also with regard to forthcoming documenta Institute. Together with the Arnold Bode legacy this addition will form the foundation to the curators’ center which is set to be further extended.

The gift will be accompanied by a generous donation from Dr. Hubert Burda. This commitment will allow for the collection to be indexed thereby paving the way for its public use and academic examination. Hubert Burda – celebrating his 80th birthday over the next few days – and Bazon Brock are linked by a decades-long friendship based, amongst other things, on shared ideas in the field of critical thinking and the productive culture of debate. Commenting on this Hubert Burda said: “One of my greatest achievements is perhaps that I have managed to bear with him over 50 years.” It was very important for Bazon Brock that his archive and parts of his collection were presented to the documenta archiv to be suitably prepared there as an “ordered premature legacy”: “It means a great deal to me to have found such an appropriate place for my life’s work that is accessible to the public.”

Christian Geselle, Lord Mayor of the City of Kassel and Supervisory Board Chairman of documenta und Museum Fridericianum gGmbH, is delighted with the gift: “This is a great addition for the documenta city of Kassel. Gaining such a key legacy for Kassel shows the huge potential the documenta archiv – only entrusted by the City to documenta und Museum Fridericianum gGmbH three years ago – in terms of the historiography of documenta and also the development of contemporary art and art mediation.”

The State of Hessen also welcomes the addition. Commenting on this Hessen’s State Minister of Higher Education, Research and the Arts Angela Dorn said: “documenta regularly puts Hessen into the international spotlight delighting all those who are interested in art. In addition to the major cultural significance it is also welcomed that the move includes citizens and makes documenta an experience for them. Bazon Brock has carried out significant work in the field of art mediation. I am delighted that he is leaving his important life’s work to the documenta archiv in memory of the world art exhibition. And likewise that as a state Hessen will continue to grow as a center of this art mediation.”

Dr. Sabine Schormann, General Director of documenta und Museum Fridericianum gGmbH, underlines the significance of this donation: “The breadth of Bazon Brock’s work, past and present, as a universal poet, teacher of aesthetics, author, speaker and creator of visitor and citizen schools is similarly reflected in the diversity, universality and rich contrasts of the legacy which we have now received as a gift for the documenta archiv. The fact that Hubert Burda has also decided to make such a generous donation for work on the legacy will pave the way to it being suitably indexed. We are deeply indebted to Bazon Brock and to him. The outgoing director of the documenta archiv, Dr. Birgit Jooss and her team, have also ensured that the legacy could be secured for Kassel through their many years of commitment and professional work.” The legacy will be presented in full upon completion of structural work on the documenta Institute, which is currently being established. The cataloguing work will begin before then.


Please download images here.


Bazon Brock
Prof. Dr. Bazon Brock (born in 1936 as Jürgen Johannes Hermann Brock) studied German, Philosophy and Politics. He was a student of Adorno, lyricist, dramaturge, artist and Professor of Aesthetics and is considered an exponent of the Fluxus movement. He is the founder of the “Besucherschule” (Visitors’ School) that was held to accompany the documenta exhibitions 4, 5, 6 and 7 and which remained influential during documenta 8 and 9. In 1968 the concept advocated for a new kind of art mediation that promoted audience literacy at a visual level: the aim was to educate a qualified and informed art audience across the board. The concept also particularly became known by means of the “Audiovisual Foreword” of documenta 5.


documenta archiv
The documenta archiv is part of documenta und Museum Fridericianum gGmbH. It is home to the written, image and electronic documents arising in connection with documenta exhibitions. With its unique holdings of the archive of records and papers, media collection and the library the documenta archiv also forms the nucleus of the documenta Institute initially being founded under the auspices of documenta und Museum Fridericianum gGmbH in cooperation with the German federal government, the Land of Hessen, the City of Kassel and the University of Kassel. The institute will stimulate, conduct and further develop research related to documenta and make it publicly visible.

31 January 2020

Press Invitation: Forrest Bess at the Fridericianum


Exhibition: Forrest Bess
February 15 – May 3, 2020
Fridericianum, Friedrichsplatz 18, 34117 KasselMore


Exhibition: Forrest Bess
February 15 – May 3, 2020
Fridericianum, Friedrichsplatz 18, 34117 Kassel


Opening: Friday, February 14, 2020, 7 pm
Press Preview: Thursday, February 13, 2020, 11 am
Speakers:
Dr. Sabine Schormann, General Director of documenta und Museum Fridericianum gGmbH
Moritz Wesseler, Director of the Fridericianum
We look forward to your participation. Please register under press@fridericianum.org.


The Fridericianum presents the first exhibition of the work of American painter Forrest Bess in Germany for over thirty years


The exhibition at the Fridericianum presents the remarkable and unusual work of Forrest Bess to a wider German audience for the first time since 1989. By featuring over seventy works from institutional and private collections, the artist’s development is mapped from his early conventional, figurative formulations through to his so-called “visionary” paintings—the biomorphic abstractions—that make up the main body of his work. Furthermore, by exhibiting selected correspondence and other archival material, Bess’s biography is carefully traced while at the same time providing a background to his art theoretical approaches, the handling of his homosexuality, and his theories of hermaphroditism. This insight into the life and work of an artist who has found a considerable following among contemporary artists, such as Tomma Abts, James Benning, Robert Gober, Richard Hawkins, Henrik Olesen, and Amy Sillman, strongly highlights Bess’s relevance to the present day.


Forrest Bess: Life and Work


The painter Forrest Bess, born in 1911 in Bay City, Texas, where he also died in 1977, is considered an outstanding yet little understood figure in American postwar art. Both his work and lifestyle conformed little to the conventions of the day. He thus led a rather secluded existence from the second half of the 1940s on the Gulf of Mexico where he worked as a catcher and seller of fish bait. During this time, Bess began to systematically produce small-format paintings which encapsulated “visions” that appeared to him on the threshold between waking and sleep. These works, which he exhibited fairly regularly from 1951, feature symbols, shapes, and spaces that are not clearly decipherable and which can be located in the field of biomorphic abstractions. For Bess, subconscious experiences and humanity’s collective memory manifested themselves in these pictorial worlds. Accordingly, he pursued the exploration of his visions like an intense piece of research. He studied texts on mythology, art history, psychology, and sexual science that he articulated in countless records and correspondence without ever unravelling the mystery of his creativity. Over time he came to the conclusion that he could attain immortality by uniting the male and the female. In the 1950s this belief ultimately led to personal medical interventions on his own genitals, through which he tried to become a pseudo-hermaphrodite. For Bess artistic work was closely related to life itself, which, conveyed with his intensity and specificity, can be seen as a feature distinguishing him from artists like Barnett Newman, Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, or Clyfford Still—who like him exhibited at the legendary Betty Parsons Gallery. However, it is not only from this perspective that we can discern a difference to these artists who are today considered the main exponents of Abstract Expressionism. The intimate format of Bess’s paintings is in direct contrast to the monumentality of his colleagues’ works. Furthermore, his work is neither marked by a recognizable style nor characterized by any form of stringent development. Even though Bess’s works, as abstractions, fit perfectly into the context of contemporary art history, his “visionary” pictures nevertheless tread their very own path. It is precisely this aspect that has played a considerable role in making him a point of reference for generations of subsequent artists.


After his death Bess gained recognition in the form of various institutional solo exhibitions. Marking the start of this was a presentation at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York in 1981, followed by a touring exhibition in 1988 to the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago and the San José Museum of Art in San José, concluding at the Museum Ludwig in Cologne in 1989. This was followed in 2013–14 by the exhibition Seeing Things Invisible which toured to the Menil Collection in Houston, the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles, the Neuberger Museum of Art in Purchase, as well as the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive in Berkeley. Together with Robert Gober’s initiated juxtaposition of Bess’s writings and works in the context of the Whitney Biennial 2012, the tour formed a high point in the reception of this visionary painter. The exhibition at the Fridericianum follows on from these shows and, for the first time since 1989, updates the reception of Forrest Bess’s work in the German context.

The exhibition is funded by the German Federal Cultural Foundation.

20 January 2020

22 October 2019

Press Invitation: Rachel Rose

Exhibition: Rachel Rose
October 26, 2019 – January 12, 2020
Fridericianum, Friedrichsplatz 18, 34117 Kassel, GermanyMore

Exhibition: Rachel Rose
October 26, 2019 – January 12, 2020
Fridericianum, Friedrichsplatz 18, 34117 Kassel, Germany


Press preview: Friday, October 25, 2019, 11.30 am (the artist will be present)
Opening: Friday, October 25, 2019, 7 pm
Please register at: press@fridericianum.org


In Rachel Rose’s first large-scale solo exhibition in Germany, the artist (born New York, 1986) will present a selection of her video installations and a new series of sculptures at the Fridericianum in Kassel. In recent years, Rose has quickly risen to prominence for her compelling video installations and films. This selective overview of Rose’s practice, which focuses on moving images, is comprised of five works: Sitting Feeding Sleeping (2013), Everything and More (2015), Lake Valley (2016), Autoscopic Egg (2017), and Wil-o-Wisp (2018). Complemented by a group of new sculptures, this makes the exhibition at the Fridericianum the largest presentation of the artist’s work to date. Not only characteristic of Rose’s approach to art making, these works can be seen as individualized responses to subject matter particular to her interests. While these differ in each, she often explores how our relationship to landscape, storytelling, and belief systems are inseparably linked to one another. From supernaturalism in the modern era in Wil-o-Wisp to possible futures put forward by contemporary sciences in Sitting Feeding Sleeping, the artist reveals commonalities toward concepts of mortality. Meanwhile, works such as Lake Valley and Everything and More imagine alternate sensory experiences – from abandonment in children’s stories to zero gravity in outer space – that contribute to our understanding of what it means to be human. As such, this exhibition traces how Rose visualizes fundamentally existential concerns, using the past to address how present conditions shape our conceptions of impermanence.


Rose uses a wide range of filmic techniques to realize her work. From collaging footage to, most recently, narrative filmmaking, she draws from and contributes to a long history of cinematic innovation. Yet, irrespective of these different approaches, the artist has developed a consistent method of projection and installation to immerse and affect the viewer’s physical and psychological experience of moving image and sound. Alongside her moving image works, a new series of sculptural objects made from glass and various minerals will be shown at the Fridericianum. These originate from the egg form, which often appears in Rose’s work; most recently as physical manifestations featured in Autoscopic Egg and the glass-blown lenses Optical Eggs (2018–19) that accompany the video installation of Wil-o-Wisp. From the collectively titled series Born (2019–), nine specially produced pieces will be displayed in a separate oval-shaped room designed specifically for this exhibition. While the symbol of the egg is typically regarded as a sign of fertility, reproduction, and transformation, these sculptures nevertheless encapsulate Rose’s working methodology since they are derived from and connect to several key aspects of her recent practice, namely the history of glass, topography, and the collaging of materials – subjects and techniques she often revisits.

8 August 2019

Press invitation: Launch of the virtual exhibition
How much Bauhaus is in documenta? Seeking traces
Thursday, August 15, 2019 6.30 pm


The first Virtual Exhibition created by the documenta archiv explores the question in which way Bauhaus concepts have inscribed themselves in the documenta idea. It will be available from August 15, 2019 at www.documenta-bauhaus.de.
More


The first Virtual Exhibition created by the documenta archiv explores the question in which way Bauhaus concepts have inscribed themselves in the documenta idea. It will be available from August 15, 2019 at www.documenta-bauhaus.de.


In an art-historical approach, the exhibition follows indications as to the extent to which the first four documenta exhibitions referred to the Bauhaus or were influenced by it. The most important actors, the institutions involved, the exhibited works, the understanding of art and the visual appearance of the documenta are examined. In addition to vivid illustrations, numerous impressive features, cross-references and background information will enrich the narratives.


Nine stories and fourteen close-ups by Verena Bornmann, Laura Diermann, Martin Groh, Birgit Jooss, Harald Kimpel, Andrea Linnenkohl and Anna Rühl illuminate the spectrum.


The Virtual Exhibition is part of the project "Bauhaus | documenta"


Curator: Birgit Jooss


Stories

Arnold Bode's first plan for documenta: art across national and genre borders

Bauhaus artists at the first documenta, 1955

b + d – A comparison of visual identity

Bauhaus artists at the second documenta, 1959

Experiences and principles of the Bauhaus for the New Kassel Werkakademie in the postwar period

Kassel in the 1920s - contacts to the Bauhaus

Applied art and design – the first three documenta exhibitions and their relation to Bauhaus ideas

Arnold Bode's contacts in Berlin in the early 1930s

Bauhaus artists at the third documenta, 1964


Close-ups
Werner Haftmann, the gray eminence of documenta

"A pantheon of superior men": Bauhaus artists in photo portraits

"Quintessence" of New Building: Bauhaus architectures in photo portraits

Fritz Winter - From Bauhaus to documenta

Hans Soeder and the reformation of the Kassel Art Academy

Arnold Bode as designer

The Rasch Wallpaper Factory - a cooperation project with the Bauhaus and Arnold Bode


The Städtische Werklehrer-Seminar in Berlin

The Kroll Opera in Berlin – connections to Kassel and Dessau

"Do German designers have to be furious?" – the case of Wagenfeld

Primary colors and shapes at the Bauhaus

Brian Jungen's "Dog Run" at documenta 13

28 May 2019

Fridericianum kicks off exhibition program with Lucas Arruda and Ron Nagle


Exhibitions
Lucas Arruda Deserto-Modelo
Ron Nagle Euphoric Recall
June 6 to September 8, 2019
Opening: Wednesday, June 5, 2019, at 7 pm (BBQ from 6 pm)More


Exhibitions
Lucas Arruda Deserto-Modelo
Ron Nagle Euphoric Recall
June 6 to September 8, 2019
Opening: Wednesday, June 5, 2019, at 7 pm (BBQ from 6 pm)


Press Preview: Tuesday, June 4, 2019, 11.30 am Fridericianum, Friedrichsplatz 18, 34117 Kassel


Speakers:
Welcome address: Dr. Sabine Schormann, Director General documenta und Museum Fridericianum gGmbH
Introduction: Moritz Wesseler, Director Fridericianum
Exhibition tour with Moritz Wesseler


We look forward to your participation.
Please register under press@fridericianum.org


The exhibitions Deserto-Modelo by Lucas Arruda and Euphoric Recall by Ron Nagle mark the beginning of the program put together by the new Fridericianum director Moritz Wesseler.


With Lucas Arruda and Ron Nagle, the Fridericianum is presenting two artists who represent very disparate aspects of current art production and who are at decidedly different phases in the development of their artistic/intellectual voices. Whereas the former’s chosen path is painting, he hails from South America and by the time he had reached his early 30s had already formulated a remarkably lucid oeuvre, one which is now starting to receive international attention, the latter is a sculptor, has his roots in North America and with a consistent oeuvre spanning six decades can be considered a master of his métier. What they have in common is a passionate and even obsessive devotion to their chosen themes and areas of work, which accounts for the singularity of the art they produce.


The presentation of the work of Arruda and Nagle will be followed, in October 2019, by a comprehensive show of the oeuvre of artist Rachel Rose, who was born in 1986 and works with time-based media and sculpture, and in February 2020 by an exhibition of the work of painter Forrest Bess, who died in 1977. It will be the largest European show on Bess’ work in over 30 years. As such, with his new program for the Fridericianum Moritz Wesseler is on the one hand focusing attention on those artists who have to date been denied a platform in Germany in the institutional context, and, on the other, offering everyone an opportunity to rediscover historical positions that were for a long time obscured, despite having great relevance for current discourse.


Lucas Arruda Deserto-Modelo Deserto-Modelo is the title of the Fridericianum’s presentation of the first larger-scale institutional solo show by the artist Lucas Arruda, who was born in São Paulo in 1983. Arruda’s work comprises paintings, prints, light installations, slide projections and films. It reflects his intensive, dedicated examination of a wide spectrum of subjects, ranging from the conceptual framework of the genre that is painting to the existential conditions of life itself. A particular feature of Arruda’s praxis is his portrayal of landscapes and seascapes, although his work never references specific locations. On the contrary, he is concerned with capturing those imaginary places evoked by thoughts of landscapes and seascapes, and with looking into the light conditions, atmospheres and emotions connected with them. However, many of his works are characterized by such a degree of abstraction that the reference to a landscape is only suggested by the horizon lines that are present to varying extents.


Independent of the degree of their legibility, his visual formulations give rise to a moment of deceleration and concentration, which, in these increasingly fast-paced times we live in, takes us by surprise and, with its insistent yet peaceful power, raises not least the question as to which rhythms life follows in this globalized world.


Ron Nagle Euphoric Recall For more than six decades now, Ron Nagle has been producing works characterized by the fact that they manifest a maximum height of 20 cm. Despite their limited heights, these works, made among other things of ceramics, plastics, glazing agents and car paint, boast a presence and an effect which could hardly be more impressive. This accounts for the unique status of Nagle’s work within the sculpture genre and results from his works’ interplay of unusual shapes, diverse colors and tactile surfaces. Accordingly, in his objects, shapes with an organic feel to them meet architectural elements, brightly gleaming colors are confronted with unobtrusive, restrained hues and rough, porous surfaces contrasted with high-gloss ones. His work is not only uncommonly fresh, soulful and sophisticated; it is also mysterious and sometimes surreal. Nagle moreover provides his work with additional levels of meaning by furnishing it with elaborate titles which are usually characterized by a great propensity for wordplay and humor.


Euphoric Recall at the Fridericianum is the first solo show in Germany by Nagle, who was born in San Francisco in 1939. An artist book is being published to mark the show, which is being realized in cooperation with the Vienna Secession.


Image material for download available here: https://fridericianum.org/presse/

18 April 2019

Sabine Schormann, Director General documenta and Museum Fridericianum gGmbH on the re-establishment of the "Foreigners and Refugees Monument" by Olu Oguibe

Dr. Sabine Schormann: "I am very sorry that I cannot be in Kassel today. It means a lot to me that this important documenta 14 art work is now permanently back in Kassel's centre. The fact that it was possible to rebuild it at the Treppenstrasse is due not least thanks to the citizens of Kassel, who have worked to preserve it. My sincere thanks go to them as well as to all those responsible and to the artist, Olu Oguibe. The city society is now invited to welcome the obelisk to its new location at a citizens' festivity. Treppe 4 invites everyone on Saturday 11 May 2019".More

Dr. Sabine Schormann: "I am very sorry that I cannot be in Kassel today. It means a lot to me that this important documenta 14 art work is now permanently back in Kassel's centre. The fact that it was possible to rebuild it at the Treppenstrasse is due not least thanks to the citizens of Kassel, who have worked to preserve it. My sincere thanks go to them as well as to all those responsible and to the artist, Olu Oguibe. The city society is now invited to welcome the obelisk to its new location at a citizens' festivity. Treppe 4 invites everyone on Saturday 11 May 2019".

22 February 2019

ruangrupa Selected as Artistic Direction of documenta 15 
For the First Time an Artist Collective Curates the International Art Exhibition

Nominated unanimously by the International Finding Committee the Supervisory Board appointed ruangrupa, a collective of artists and creatives from Jakarta, Indonesia, with a ten-member core as the artistic direction of documenta 15. This was announced by the general director of documenta und Museum Fridericianum gGmbH, Dr. Sabine Schormann, today. As a result, documenta will be organized by an artist collective for the first time. documenta 15 takes place from 18 June to 25 September 2022 in Kassel.More

Nominated unanimously by the International Finding Committee the Supervisory Board appointed ruangrupa, a collective of artists and creatives from Jakarta, Indonesia, with a ten-member core as the artistic direction of documenta 15. This was announced by the general director of documenta und Museum Fridericianum gGmbH, Dr. Sabine Schormann, today. As a result, documenta will be organized by an artist collective for the first time. documenta 15 takes place from 18 June to 25 September 2022 in Kassel.

For the eight-member Finding Committee, Elvira Dyangani Ose (director of The Showroom, London) and Philippe Pirotte (director of the Staatliche Hochschule für Bildende Künste – Städelschule, and director of Portikus, Frankfurt am Main) gave the following reasons for the unanimous decision: “We have appointed ruangrupa because they have demonstrated the ability to appeal to various communities, including groups that go beyond pure art audiences, and to promote local commitment and participation. Their curatorial approach is based on an international network of local community-based art organizations. We are eager to see how ruangrupa will develop a concrete project for and from Kassel. At a time when innovative strength particularly stems from independent organizations active on the community level, it seems only logical to offer this collective approach a platform with documenta.”

The Indonesian word ruangrupa loosely translates as “a space for art” or “a space form.” This field of tension is already apparent from the collective’s central curatorial approach. Farid Rakun and Ade Darmawan, who represented ruangrupa today in Kassel, formulated their decidedly participatory curatorial goals for the international art exhibition in 2022 as follows: “We want to create a globally oriented, cooperative, interdisciplinary art and culture platform that will have an impact beyond the 100 days of documenta 15. Our curatorial approach aims at a different community-oriented model of resource usage – economical, but also taking ideas, knowledge, programs and innovations into account. If documenta was launched in 1955 to heal war wounds, why shouldn’t we focus documenta 15 on today’s injuries, especially ones rooted in colonialism, capitalism, or patriarchal structures, and contrast them with partnership-based models that enable people to have a different view of the world.”

The collective was founded in 2000 in Jakarta, Indonesia. ruangrupa runs an art space in South Jakarta and realizes exhibitions, festivals, publications and radio formats. 
The collective has participated in many cooperation and exhibition projects, including the Gwangju Biennale (2002 und 2018), the Istanbul Biennale (2005), the Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art (Brisbane, 2012), the Singapore Biennale (2011), the São Paulo Biennale (2014), the Aichi Triennale (Nagoya, 2016) and Cosmopolis at Centre Pompidou (Paris, 2017). In 2016, ruangrupa curated TRANSaction: Sonsbeek 2016 in Arnhem, the Netherlands. In 2018, the participants founded GUDSKUL, an educational and networking project for creatives based on cooperative work.

At documenta 14, ruangrupa participated with its internet radio station as a partner of the decentralized radio project Every Time a Ear di Soun, which brought together eight worldwide radio stations. ruangrupa is a nonprofit organisation. At least one member of the organisation will spend a lot of time in Kassel for the preparation of documenta 15. 
The Chairman of the Supervisory Board of documenta und Museum Fridericianum gGmbH, Lord Mayor Christian Geselle, welcomed the Finding Committee’s selection: 
“For ruangrupa, the principle of networking is of central importance. From Kassel, interdisciplinary artistic interventions will be initiated, which will make the documenta city visible internationally and bring the (art) world to Kassel, as it were. Our city can only benefit from this. I am pleased that documenta is looking to the future in such an exciting way.”

The Hessian Minister of Higher Education, Research and the Arts, Angela Dorn, stresses the potential of social debate: “I am already looking forward to the fact that in three years, with documenta 15, Kassel will again be hosting the world’s most important contemporary art exhibition. The state of Hesse is proud to enable this platform, which promotes discussion of cultural positions today as well as perspectives for the future. With the expansion of the documenta archive into an independent research institute we will further strengthen contemporary art in Kassel. I congratulate the Finding Committee, which proposed the Indonesian artist collective for the artistic direction of the next documenta, and am pleased that the Supervisory Board followed this suggestion. With the selection, documenta is consciously giving room to the non-European view of the art world and bringing the world to Hesse in a completely new way. ruangrupa uses art in its home country to address public issues and problems. I’m looking forward to seeing how they incorporate this idea in documenta 15.”

Hortensia Völckers, director of the German Federal Cultural Foundation, is eagerly looking forward to seeing how the concept is developed further: “As the German Federal Cultural Foundation, we were very pleased about the successful course of the process to find the artistic direction of documenta 15 and congratulate all participants on a result that makes us expect an interesting and inspiring documenta. We are happy to be part of this process and to be able to contribute our expertise to such a renowned exhibition project.”

Sabine Schormann paid tribute to the great commitment of all members of the international Finding Committee: “I would like to thank the international Finding Committee for a dedicated and intensive selection process, which with the presentation of ruangrupa as Artistic Direction sends a strong signal for a vibrant and sustainable documenta 15. I am looking forward to see how the participatory approaches are made more specific in the development process.”

The Finding Committee for documenta 15 is composed of the following experts: 
Ute Meta Bauer, founding director, NTU Centre for Contemporary Art Singapore; Charles Esche, director of the Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven, the Netherlands; Amar Kanwar, artist and documentary filmmaker, New Delhi, India; Frances Morris, director of Tate Modern in London, Great Britain; Gabi Ngcobo, curator of the 10th Berlin Biennale 2018 in Germany (South Africa); Elvira Dyangani Ose, director of The Showroom London, England; Philippe Pirotte, director of the Staatliche Hochschule für Bildende Künste – Städelschule Frankfurt/M., Germany (Belgium); Jochen Volz, director of Pinacoteca do Estado de São Paulo, Brazil.

Please download images here.

You can follow the press conference here

16 January 2019

"Bauhaus | documenta. Vision and Brand" 24.5.–8.9.2019, Neue Galerie, Kassel

The exhibition "Bauhaus | documenta. Vision and Brand" reflects for the first time the Bauhaus and documenta in comparison. This year’s 100th anniversary of the Bauhaus provides an opportunity to look at the development of both institutions, which have become cultural brands, and to question them critically at the same time: Where do the brands remain true to themselves as a commitment to innovation and progress, where are they part of an interest-guided appropriation? In this way, the exhibition also offers an insight into the role and function that art and culture can play in a society today.

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The exhibition "Bauhaus | documenta. Vision and Brand" reflects for the first time the Bauhaus and documenta in comparison. This year’s 100th anniversary of the Bauhaus provides an opportunity to look at the development of both institutions, which have become cultural brands, and to question them critically at the same time: Where do the brands remain true to themselves as a commitment to innovation and progress, where are they part of an interest-guided appropriation? In this way, the exhibition also offers an insight into the role and function that art and culture can play in a society today.

Based on installations, documentary objects, statistical material and some high-quality original artworks, the exhibition creates a parkour across seven thematic spaces, ranging from the emergence and initial visions of both cultural institutions to today's reception. Among the artists on display are Marianne Brandt, Marcel Breuer, Bazon Brock, Hans Haacke, Wassily Kandinsky, Barbara Klemm, Aleksandr Ptuschko and Gilles Raynaldy.

The exhibition is accompanied by a virtual exhibition under the title "How much Bauhaus is in documenta? A search for clues and a publication that brings together all project components and will be published by Spector Books in May. In addition, Heinz Bude is organizing a symposium under the title "Have we really never been modern? Bauhaus and documenta in true affinity" taking place at the Kunsthochschule Kassel from 14-15 June 2019).

On the theoretical discourse Two cultural brands and their development. The conceptual reflections on the exhibition and its contents

Bauhaus and documenta are two globally successful cultural brands that stand for a cosmopolitan, innovative and modern Germany. Both were created against the backdrop of civil disruptions - both exemplify the idea of the emancipative power of art and culture, which enrich the lives of the individual, reflect social coexistence and promote social progress. While the Bauhaus wanted to confront the crisis of industrialization and the damage caused by the First World War through the design of things, spaces and buildings, documenta took up the romantic idea of dealing with visual art, through which people should once again become responsible citizens. While the Bauhaus wanted to "intervene" in the future of our public and private lives, as a result of as well as in addition to its artistic engagement with products, and quickly developed itself into a brand with many sub-brands, documenta had to repeatedly "work through" its significance as a brand until today. This at the interface to marketing and the demands of its own successful "profitability" - and protect its own autonomy. Although both were and are subject to a variety of changes in their different developments, their demands have remained and continue to shape the perception and self-image of both brands - in their motifs, strategies and successes.

A project of the documenta archiv and the University of Kassel in cooperation with Museumslandschaft Hessen Kassel

Project heads Birgit Jooss, Philipp Oswalt

Curators of the exhibition Philipp Oswalt, Daniel Tyradellis

Curator of the virtual exhibition Birgit Jooss

Conception of the symposium Heinz Bude

Press contact

documenta and Museum Fridericianum gGmbH

Johanna Köhler

T +49 561 70727-2520

presse@documenta.de

https://www.documenta-archiv.de/bauhaus-documenta

29 November 2018

Course Set for documenta 15
Closure of Accounts for documenta 14 Finalized

At their meeting yesterday, November 28, 2018, the commitees of documenta und Museum Fridericianum gGmbH set the course for documenta’s future.More

At their meeting yesterday, November 28, 2018, the commitees of documenta und Museum Fridericianum gGmbH set the course for documenta’s future.

On the one hand, the financial plan for 2019 was passed, while on the other benchmarks were discussed for the five-year-plan until 2023 with the goal of securing the planning and implementation for documenta 15, which will take place from June 18–September 25, 2022.

With an eye on artistic needs as well as general increases in costs and greater demands in terms of security, sustainability, and visitor services, the budget planning for documenta 15 will include an appropriate increase in funding.

Over the past few months, initial structural changes were undertaken for documenta und Museum Fridericianum gGmbH to secure continuous quality and a basic structure that future artistic teams can rely upon. These include the establishment of a controlling mechanism and the introduction of a new department of communication and marketing.

In finalizing the closure of accounts for 2017, the shareholders also have agreed to each bear half of the costs of the financial gap left after documenta 14 that initially were calculated at 5.4 million euros which now – after finalization of the audit – are calculated as 7.6 million euros. This gap resulted in part due to the implementation of the chosen concept of a documenta exhibition held in two locations.

“Now concrete planning can begin for documenta 15”, in the words of Christian Geselle, Kassel’s Lord Mayor and chairman of the supervisory board of documenta und Museum Fridericianum gGmbH. “The finding committee is in the midst of the selection process, the expanded team around director general Dr. Sabine Schormann has been on board since November, and the new director of Fridericianum Moritz Wesseler also began in November: all in all, after a brief period between rough waters and lulls, as can happen on any sea journey, the ship is now back on course. Thanks for this positive development go to the interim CEO Wolfgang Orthmayr, and director general Dr. Sabine Schormann, who over the past few months have worked hand in hand intensely on these issues.”

“There is likely to be a great deal of debate in times to come, that’s virtually part of the DNA of one of the most important exhibitions of contemporary art worldwide,” according to Boris Rhein, Hessian Minister for Science and Art and deputy chairman of the supervisory board. “documenta invents itself each time anew, daring to take risks in artistic and curatorial terms, taking a stand on social and political issues. Respective discussions are explicitly welcome. With the decisions of the supervisory board and the above mentioned structural changes we now have created a solid foundation for documentas future."

“We are pleased about the faith that the supervisory board and the shareholders place in documenta and the important role it plays in society’s overall development, and we will continue intently to build on the future of documenta with our highly motivated and competent team,” in the words of the director general of documenta und Museum Fridericianum gGmbH Dr. Sabine Schormann.

31 October 2018

10 September 2018

As of November 2018: Moritz Wesseler New Director of Kassel’s Fridericianum

documenta und Museum Fridericianum gGmbH has appointed Moritz Wesseler as new director of Kassel’s Fridericianum as of November 1, 2018. The selection committee included: Krist Gruijthuijsen, director KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin, Bettina Steinbrügge, director Hamburger Kunstverein, René Zechlin, director Wilhelm-Hack-Museum Ludwigshafen, and Dr. Sabine Schormann, designated general director, documenta und Museum Fridericianum gGmbH.

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documenta und Museum Fridericianum gGmbH has appointed Moritz Wesseler as new director of Kassel’s Fridericianum as of November 1, 2018. The selection committee included: Krist Gruijthuijsen, director KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin, Bettina Steinbrügge, director Hamburger Kunstverein, René Zechlin, director Wilhelm-Hack-Museum Ludwigshafen, and Dr. Sabine Schormann, designated general director, documenta und Museum Fridericianum gGmbH.

The 37-year-old art historian and curator Moritz Wesseler was previously director of Kölnischer Kunstverein where he realized exhibitions with artists of international renown including Pietro Roccasalva, Nathalie Djurberg & Hans Berg, Andra Ursuta, Annette Kelm, Darren Bader, Petrit Halilaj, João Maria Gusmão + Pedro Paiva, Ketuta Alexi-Meskhishvili, Stephen G. Rhodes, Uri Aran, Andro Wekua, Christiana Soulou, Avery Singer, Danny McDonald, Talia Chetrit, Adriano Costa, Cameron Jamie, Alex Da Corte, and Walter Price. Parallel to organizing these presentations, a special emphasis of his programming was placed on outreach and publicity with the goal of opening Kölnischer Kunstverein to a wider audience. Lectures, conversations, concerts, and performances were held at the institution on a regular basis, while the introduction of the so-called Vereinsgabe, an edition series free of cost to association members with contributions by artists such as Rosemarie Trockel, Lawrence Weiner, Kai Althoff, Isa Genzken and Luc Tuymans, led to a boom in new membership. Moritz Wesseler is the successor of Susanne Pfeffer, who in early 2018 took a position at Frankfurt’s Museum für Moderne Kunst.

Christian Geselle, Kassel’s lord mayor and chairman of the board of documenta und Museum Fridericianum gGmbH, welcomes the decision: “With Moritz Wesseler, we have been able to gain a promising young director who intends to continue the great tradition of Fridericianum as a location of encounter and exchange with contemporary art into the future and to network the institution with important players from the region and around the world.

”Boris Rhein, Hessen’s Minister for Science and the Arts and deputy chairman of the board, sees the new director of Fridericianum as a great opportunity to continue positioning the institution as a central location for contemporary art and to meet with an even greater audience response: “Moritz Wesseler has shown in Cologne that his demanding exhibitions found acceptance among a broad audience. We are convinced that he will continue to build bridges in Kassel.”

“Fridericianum is an outstanding exhibition institution and plays an important role for Kassel’s reputation in the world,” in the words of Moritz Wesseler. “I look forward to moving to the city of the documenta and continuing the wonderful tradition of my predecessors. My goal is to offer a platform for key players in the realm of contemporary art still largely unknown in Germany. In addition, I intend to strengthen the institution’s connection within the city and the local region.”

“I look forward to working with Moritz Wesseler,” says Dr. Sabine Schormann, designated general director of documenta und Museum Fridericianum gGmbH. “Our joint goal is to keep Fridericianum’s tradition as a vital location of contemporary art.”

On Moritz Wesseler

Moritz Wesseler, born in Bremerhaven in 1980, studied business and art history in Mainz and Paris. Even as a student, he began organizing exhibitions with artists such as Cathy Wilkes, Martin Boyce, Ceal Floyer, and Manfred Pernice. In addition, he edited artist’s books and catalogues on Gregor Schneider, Luc Tuymans, and Anri Sala, and began building up the archive of Bremerhaven’s Kabinett für aktuelle Kunst. After completing his studies, he took a position at Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen in Düsseldorf; later he was involved in organizing the exhibition series Double at Frankfurt’s Museum für Moderne Kunst and conceived the initiative Fürstenberg Zeitgenössisch in Donaueschingen and Heiligenberg, which features a fellowship and exhibition program. Besides working as a curator, he also publishes widely on twentieth century and contemporary art and participates in important juries on a national and international level. He has been serving as Hamburg’s Curator von Neue Kunst since September 2017.

On Fridericianum

Museum Fridericianum opened in 1779 as the world’s first museum intended for the public from the very beginning. Conceived in the spirit of the Enlightenment and designed by Huguenot architect Simon Louis du Ry, Fridericianum in the following years experienced a history marked by various disruptions but remained a venue of historical import.

Since 1988, Fridericianum has been a central location of contemporary art. Significant positions and artistic currents and socially relevant questions are taken up, presented, and negotiated. The institution presents solo shows by international artists that often involve spatially expansive installations. Retrospectives are also part of the program. Thematically speaking, positions by artists critical of society and the period are given pride of place. Screenings and performances, conferences and symposia round out the program, covering the spectrum of contemporary art and debate.

13 July 2018

Finding Committee for documenta 15

Preparations for documenta 15, which will take place in Kassel from 18 June to 25 September 2022, are progressing as planned. The Finding Committee for d 15 is in place. In accordance with the circular resolution recently presented to the members of the Supervisory Board of documenta und Museum Fridericianum gGmbH, the following experts have been appointed for the purpose of selecting the Artistic Director of documenta 15:

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Preparations for documenta 15, which will take place in Kassel from 18 June to 25 September 2022, are progressing as planned. The Finding Committee for d 15 is in place. In accordance with the circular resolution recently presented to the members of the Supervisory Board of documenta und Museum Fridericianum gGmbH, the following experts have been appointed for the purpose of selecting the Artistic Director of documenta 15:

• Ute Meta Bauer, Founder and Director of the Centre for Contemporary Art in Singapore • Charles Esche, Director of the Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven, Netherlands
• Amar Kanwar, artist, New Delhi, India
• Frances Morris, Director of the Tate Modern in London, Great Britain
• Gabi Ngcobo, Curator of the 10th Berlin Biennale 2018, South Africa
• Elvira Dyangani Ose, Curator, Creative Time, New York, USA
(Director of The Showroom in London, Great Britain, effective September 2018)
• Philippe Pirotte, Director of the Staatl. Hochschule für Bildende Künste – Städelschule in Frankfurt/M., Germany (Belgium)
• Jochen Volz, Director of the Pinacoteca do Estado de São Paulo, Brazil

The task facing the Finding Committee constituted on the basis of the recommendation by designated General Director Dr. Sabine Schormann is to appoint an Artistic Director for the 15th edition of documenta, which is regarded as the most important exhibition of contemporary art in the world.

Kassel’s Mayor Christian Geselle, Chairman of the Supervisory Board, expressed pleasure in noting that preparations for documenta 15 are now picking up speed. “documenta is an essential forum for contemporary art and, as the legacy of Arnold Bode, a treasure that enhances the image of the city of Kassel. I am very pleased to note that an international finding commission composed of outstanding experts has been chosen to find an artistic director for documenta 15. And we are right on schedule. I wish to express special thanks to Dr. Sabine Schormann, who has played an instrumental role in preparations for the appointment of members of the Finding Committee, even though she will not officially assume her duties as General Director of documenta und Museum Fridericianum gGmbH in Kassel until 1 November 2018.”

As Deputy Chairman of the Supervisory Board, Hessian Minister of Art and Culture Boris Rhein also expressed thanks to Dr. Sabine Schormann for having made such an important contribution to the process of forming the Finding Commission before taking office as General Director. “We are proud to realize that documenta in Kassel has gained global recognition as one of the most significant and best-known international exhibitions of contemporary art in the world. For the city of Kassel and the state of Hesse, this high honor goes hand in hand with the obligation to ensure that such an ambitious exhibition can be successful in the future as well and that the artistic director chosen by the Finding Commission is equipped with the means to achieve that goal. However, that objective represents both a duty and an incentive for the future artistic director as well. documenta is ideally suited for the purpose of learning from history and thus enabling us to look with courage to the future.”

“In view of the members’ expertise, their extensive network of ties within the cosmos of contemporary art and their different artistic and curatorial approaches, I am confident that the Finding Commission will succeed in appointing an outstanding curator to the position of Artistic Director by early next year,” said Dr. Sabine Schormann. “Personally, I am very eager to see where the journey takes us and whether documenta 15 will be more concerned with such issues as sharing and participation, intercultural networking, performance and discourse, the role of digital media or our approach to the use of public space – to name only a few conceivable focal points of interest.”

Brief biographies of the members of the Finding Commission:

• Ute Meta Bauer (*Stuttgart, 1958)
Ute Meta Bauer has served as an international curator and professor of contemporary art and as the founding Director of the Centre for Contemporary Art (CCA) in Singapore since 2013. She studied at the Hochschule für Bildende Künste in Hamburg. She was Artistic Director of the Künstlerhaus Stuttgart from 1990 to 1994. Ute Meta Bauer has worked as an independent curator since 1985 and held several different adjunct academic positions: as Associate Professor for Visual Arts at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) from 2005 to 2012, as Dean of Fine Arts at the Royal College of Art in London in 2012 and 2013 and as Professor of Theory and Practice in Contemporary Art at the Akademie der Bildenden Künste in Vienna. She served as founding Director of the Office for Contemporary Art in Norway from 2002 to 2005, Artistic Director of the 3rd Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art in 2004, Director of the MIT Visual Arts Program from 2005 to 2009 and founding Director of the Program for Art, Culture and Technology (ACT) from 2009-2012. She has worked as co-curator for several different exhibition events, including the World Biennial Forum No. 1 in Gwangju, South Korea in 2012 and documenta 11. Ute Meta Bauer chairs the Beirat für Bildende Kunst of the Goethe–Institutes and is a member of the scholarly Advisory Board of the Stiftung Bauhaus in Dessau, Germany.

• Charles Esche (*England, 1963)
Charles Esche is a museum director and art curator who lives in Edinburgh and Eindhoven. Esche has served as Director of the Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven, Netherlands, since 2004. From 2000 to 2004 he was Director of the Rooseum Center for Contemporary Art in Malmö, Sweden. He worked for Tramway in Glasgow (from 1993 to 1997) and has helped launch an art education program called the Proto-academy at the Edinburgh College of Art in 1997.
In 2012, Esche joined six other European museums to found L'Internationale confederation as a European institution devoted to modern and contemporary art. He has curated numerous international biennials. Charles Esche is a professor of Curating and Contemporary Art at the University of the Arts in London and Co-Editorial Director of the Afterall Journal and Afterall Books (with Mark Lewis).

• Amar Kanwar (*New Delhi, 1964)
Amar Kanwar is an Indian artist and documentary filmmaker who lives and works in New Delhi. Kanwar is concerned with the recent and past history of the Indian subcontinent and especially with the Indo-Pakistani wars. He has produced more than 40 video installations and films, which have been presented at various exhibitions and at a number of international museums, including the Biennale of Sydney in 2006, documenta exhibitions 11, 12, 13 and 14, kw-Berlin, the Contemporary Museum in Baltimore, the Stedelijik Museum in Amsterdam and the Haus der Kunst in Munich. Kanwar has received awards at the film festivals in San Francisco, Mumbai and Turin and was honored with the Award for Contemporary Art by a foundation established by the Norwegian Ministry of Culture in 2005.

• Frances Morris (*London, 1959)
Frances Morris has played a key role in the development of the Tate Galleries. Engaged as a curator in 1987, she was appointed Head of Displays at the Tate Modern in 2000 and has served as Director of Collection, International Art (from 2006 to 2016) and Director of the Tate Modern since 2016. Morris has curated several pioneering exhibitions, including most notably major retrospectives devoted to women artists, several of which were presented as broad-based international cooperative projects. Morris holds a BA in Art History from Cambridge University and an MA in Art History from the Courtauld Institute of Art in London. She is a member of the boards of the Fruitmarket Gallery in Edinburgh and CIMAM as well as the Advisory Committee of the Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art in Porto.

• Gabi Ngcobo (*South Africa, 1974)
Gabi Ngcobo is an artist, independent curator and art educator who lives in Johannesburg. She studied at the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College in New York and has been a member of the faculty of the Wits University School of Arts in Johannesburg since 2011. Ngcobo founded the Center for Historical Reenactments in Johannesburg in 2010 and is now serving as its director. She curated the 10th Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art in 2018.

• Elvira Dyangani Ose (*Spain, 1964)
Elvira Dyangi Ose has been a curator at Creative Time in New York since 2017. She will assume her duties as Director of the Schowroom in London in September 2018. Ose studied Art History at the Universitat Autónoma de Barcelona and Architectural Theory at the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya. She earned a Ph.D. in Art History and Visual Studies at Cornell University in New York. Elvira Dyangasi Ose worked as a curator at the Centro Atlántico de Arte Moderno (CAAM) on Gran Canaria from 2004 to 2006 and at the CENTRO ANDALUZ DE ARTE CONTEMPORANEO (Andalusian Center for Contemporary Art) from 2006 to 2008. In 2009 and 2010 she served as curator for the Arte Invisible Program of ARCOmadrid. Between 2011 and 2014 she worked as a curator of international art at the Tate Modern in London, where she was responsible for developing the art collections from Africa and the African diaspora. Since 2014 she teaches Visual Studies at Goldsmiths University of London and in 2015 she curated the eighth International Biennial for Contemporary Art (GIBCA) in Göteborg.

• Philippe Pirotte (*Antwerp, Belgium, 1972)
Philippe Pirotte lives and works in Frankfurt as Dean of the Städelschule and Director of Kunsthalle Portikus
Next to that he is adjunct senior curator at the University of California Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive. He serves as an advisor for the Kadist Art Foundation (Paris/San Francisco).Pirotte was one of the co-founders (in 1999) of the contemporary art center Objectif_Exhibitions in Antwerp, Belgium, and was the organization’s artistic director till 2005. From 2004 to 2013, Pirotte held the position of Senior Advisor at the Rijksakademie for Visual Arts in Amsterdam. From 2005 to 2011, he was Director of the Kunsthalle Bern in Switzerland. As a freelance curator Pirotte co-curated and organized a.o. exhibitions for the Museum für Moderne Kunst in Frankfurt (2014); for the Belgian Pavilion at the Venice Biennale (2001); the Weltkulturenmuseum Frankfurt (2015), for TOP contemporary Art Space Shanghai; for the Shanghai Biennale; the Contemporary Image Collective in Cairo or the Fundación Celarg in Caracas, Venezuela. He also served as Advising Program Director for the Sifang Art Museum in Nanjing. He was curator of the 2016 edition of La Biennale de Montréal, and he was part of the curatorial team of the 2017 Jakarta Biennale. Philippe Pirotte has written numerous essays about contemporary art and artists.

• Jochen Volz (*Braunschweig, 1971)
Jochen Volz is an art historian and exhibition curator. He was appointed Director of the Pinacoteca do Estado de São Paulo, Brazil, in 2017. Volz studied Art History, Communication and Education at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität in Munich and Humboldt-Universität in Berlin from 1993 to 1999. Jochen Volz served as a curator at the Portikus Ausstellungshalle in Frankfurt am Main from 2001 to 2004, as Head of Programmes at the Serpentine Galleries in London from 2012 to 2015 and as Curator of the 32nd Biennale do São Paulo in 2016. He curated the Brazilian Pavilion at the 57th Biennale di Venezia in 2017

25 April 2018

With new strength towards documenta 15

After months of tension, the documenta and Museum Fridericianum gGmbH has kicked off to a promising future: Dr Sabine Schormann, currently responsible for two major arts trusts in northern Germany, will take up the key management position of general director. The contracts were signed yesterday (Tuesday) evening. More

After months of tension, the documenta and Museum Fridericianum gGmbH has kicked off to a promising future: Dr Sabine Schormann, currently responsible for two major arts trusts in northern Germany, will take up the key management position of general director. The contracts were signed yesterday (Tuesday) evening.

As Kassel’s mayor and supervisory board chairman of the documenta, Christian Geselle, emphasized that with Dr Schormann a competent personality has been found to give the documenta a solid basis and a new approach. “It is time to look forward. On the 18th of June 2022 the documenta 15 will open in Kassel. It has always been my intention that the people of Kassel and the world can look at our future world art exhibitions positively and enthusiastically with great anticipation,“ said Geselle.

With Wolfgang Orthmayr’s interim occupancy of the management, the current business has been secured. He will manage the business in close co-operation with Dr Sabine Schormann until her move to Kassel this autumn. The search for a new director was supported by a world-leading human resources agency.

“I am really delighted to have found Dr Schormann, a leading person with international expertise in art and culture management,” said mayor Geselle with reference to her professional qualification. She takes over the leadership of the documenta and Museum Fridericianum gGmbH after 18 years’ experience in her double function as director of the Lower-Saxony Sparkasse trust and the VGH trust in Hanover. Dr Schormann developed and shaped both trusts to their current significance. With a yearly budget of about 5 million euro the two trusts strengthen the cultural offering of Lower-Saxony, especially in the areas of visual arts, museums, music, literature, preservation of monuments and historical knowledge.

Sabine Schormann established the “National Day of Open Monuments” for the German trust for the protection of monuments. From 1996 to 2000 she managed the “Planet of Visions” and “The 21st Century” in the EXPO 2000 world exhibition theme park in Hanover.

The further development of the world’s most important art exhibition will profit from Dr Schormann’s professional competences, especially in the areas of art and museums, her innovative approach, her expertise managing complex institutions and major events, as well as her extensive experience in dealing with high quality art.

“I understand my role as ‘facilitator’. That means that with the documenta, I would like to strengthen art further with the biggest possible display and public perception, without involving myself artistically,” said Dr Schormann. In this respect she has the full support and confidence of the partners Kassel City and Hessen. Mayor Geselle: “Now we have the opportunity to bring documenta up to date and strengthen it lastingly”.

“I am pleased that we could attract Dr Sabine Schormann, a proven culture expert for this central position. This decision is an important further component with which we ensure that the documenta 15 will take place in 2022 as planned and will continue to be the first address for art friends from the whole world and will also stand on a solid foundation in future,“ said Hessen’s Minister for Science and Art and deputy supervisory board chairperson Boris Rhein. “The documenta is a great stroke of luck and treasure that we must protect for Hessen’s culture”.

One of Sabine Schormanns first tasks will be to initiate and accompany the search for an artistic director for the documenta 15 and for the Fridercianum art gallery. As director of the trust, i.a. responsible for the Lower-Saxony Music Days and the Literature Festival, she is convinced of the close exchange between the general management and the curatorial management: “I am aware of the expectation and the great responsibility and look forward to this challenging task.”

Dr Schormann will also support the documenta Institute's development process actively. In addition to these responsibilities, Dr Schormann would like to set the tone in Kassel in other respects – including and especially between the exhibition years – so as to highlight the local function and fixed positioning of the documenta, which is recognized as a platform for global artistic exchange.