Four conditions in four cities

Saturday 9 June, the art exhibition dOCUMENTA (13) in Kassel (Germany) opens its doors to the public.

Museum Fridericianum, 2012, Museum Fridericianum, 2012, Photo: Nils Klinger © dOCUMENTA (13)

Documenta is an art exhibition that reappears every five years in Kassel and is considered to be one of the most important non-commercial venues for contemporary art practices within the art world. According to Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, dOCUMENTA (13)’s artistic director, this year’s exhibition “is dedicated to artistic research and forms of imagination that explore commitment, matter, things, embodiment, and active living in connection with, yet not subordinated to, theory.”

Furthermore Christov-Bakargiev states that “dOCUMENTA (13) is located in an apparent simultaneity of places and times, and it is articulated through four main positions corresponding to conditions in which people, in particular artists and thinkers, find themselves acting in the present.”

Christov-Bakargiev describes the four conditions as follows:

— On stage. I am playing a role; I am a subject in the act of re-performing.

— Under siege. I am encircled by the other, besieged by others.

— In a state of hope, or optimism. I dream, I am the dreaming subject of anticipation.

— On retreat. I am withdrawn, I choose to leave the others, I sleep.

These four conditions furthermore relate to four locations in which dOCUMENTA (13) are “physically and conceptually sited”. In addition to Kassel, Christov-Bakargiev explains, this year the exhibition also has venues in Kabul, Alexandria/Cairo, and Banff.

Portrait Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, Photo: Eduardo Knapp

Each position is a state of mind, Christov-Bakargiev continues, and relates to time in a specific way: while the retreat suspends time, being on stage produces a vivid and lively time of the here and now, the continuous present; while hope releases time through the sense of a promise, of time opening up and being unending, the sense of being under siege compresses time, to the degree that there is no space beyond the elements of life that are tightly bound around us.

From Norway the following artists participate: Hannah Ryggen, Aase Texmon Rygh, Arne Nordheim, Toril Johannessen, and Matias Faldbakken.

Hannah Ryggen: Drømmedød (Death of Dreams / Tod der Träume), 1936, Wool and linen / Wolle und Leinen 225 x 272 cm Nordenfjeldske Kunstindustrimuseum, Trondheim Photo: Roman März

Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, Artistic Director of dOCUMENTA (13), is a curator and writer based in Rome, Kassel, and New York. After organizing exhibitions as an independent curator in different countries, from 1999 to 2001 she was senior curator of exhibitions at P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, a MoMA Affiliate. She was the chief curator at the Castello di Rivoli Museum of Contemporary Art in Turin from 2002 to 2008 (and interim director of the museum in 2009). She was the co-curator of the first Turin Triennial in 2005 and artistic director for the 16th Biennale of Sydney in 2008.

KUNSTforum will publish more articles from dOCUMENTA (13) in the coming weeks.

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