just returned from documenta14 in Kassel. I was about to skip that trip because EVERYONE told me not to go, not to waste my time because this years documenta is so not worth visiting. I am glad I still went. Art events are always worth visiting to me, especially because everyone in the world has a different attitude and view on art.
I must admit that the 2012 edition was definitely better in the sense of percentage. 5 years ago you had a 100 percent chance to see something incredible, thoughtful, profound, creative at any of the d13 locations. This year there are some places you really don´t have to go. That is why I want to present you my personal must-sees, my 5 favourite locations that you can easily visit in a day-trip.
Of course you have to start in front of the Fridericianum, although I am not the biggest fan of this years exhibition inside. BUT you have to take your time to inhale the thoughtful and detailed installations on the Friedrichsplatz. Thats where I start my Must-See-Tour for you:
- Friederichsplatz – this is one of my favourite spots. I loved this place in 2012 already. So open, free, historical and traditional at the same time. The most obvious installation and maybe the best advertisement for documenta14 is the large scale installation The Parthenon of Books (2017) by Marta Minujín, the result of an open call for 100,000 formerly or currently banned books fabricated into a model of the Athenian Parthenon, at the same site where numerous books were burned by the Nazis in 1933. I was really surprised WHICH books are forbidden at some place on earth… Harry Potter and Twilight are only a few of them.The other installation I love is outside of the documenta Halle: Hiwa K’s When We Were Exhaling Images (2017). It is a series of steel tubes filled with personal objects, cots, lamps and books, replicas of the possessions of migrants. This installation is really meant to make the people think horizontally, equally. I honestly love that one. He even tried to rent them out as an RBNB Location, but this idea didn´t push through since it is a public space. Hiwa K tries to make you think through your body. He wants us to lie down and feel first – feel how it is to view yourself from above or below in sense of class.The famous Fridericianum, which plays host to the collection of the EMST collection from Athens, is featuring on its facade Banu Cennetoğlu’s, Being Safe is Scary (2017). This sentence made me think for a while. Standing on the Friedrichsplatz you are for the first time surrounded by concrete borders which were build to prevent terroristic trucks from running into crowds. So we are safe, yes, you feel safe through the new security standards, BUT at the same time it IS SCARY because this reminds you on all former attacks. Further it gives a hint – my interpretation at least – to the big brother is watching mentality of todays world. We are so transparent already, be it through social media or through google or other platforms, but we don’t even care because we feel safe, safe to be watched and followed.Don´t call the police or firemen when you see the burning Zwehrenturn, with Daniel Knorr’s Expiration Movement, 2017 (see below).
- documenta Halle – this venue is the airiest of all, the one containing the fewest works and most minimal of hangs. The main hall shows a large scale installations by Chilean poet and artist Cecilia Vicuña, the story is quite interesting; but my favourite is the hanging fabrics and clothing dyed in various types and shades of indigo – a collection of 12 varieties of the plant are presented below – by Malian artist Aboubakar Fofana. Whats quite interesting: he offers courses how to dye fabrics in indigo colours around Germany. Very impressive is also the work by Mexican musician and artist Guillermo Galindo who repurposed two boats into makeshift instruments. There is a lot of handicraft and creativeness and origin-related detail visible in the works, which I really like.
- Neue Hauptpost – the rough and urban ambiance in the disused post office is a perfect place for the D14 concept. The works here comprise the majority of the newly commissioned works for d14 in Kassel. The venue begins with The Reading Room, a large installation by Rasheed Araeen, including copies of the art magazine he founded in 1987, Third Text, as well as abstract paintings and cuboid sculpture works – here converted into stools and tables. This installation invites you to relax and read – great work! Further I love Theo Eshetu´s Video Installation with real faces projected on antique statue-faces. There are many more to explore in that site. Just take your time, this is definitely a must-see location!
- The Hessisches Landesmuseum (Museum of Hessian History), designed by the German historicist architect Theodor Fischer, was inaugurated in 1913. It was among the last major historical museums opened before the onset of World War I and the subsequent dissolution of the German empire. Having escaped much of the bombing that reduced the vast majority of Kassel to rubble during World War II, the Landesmuseum famously housed Kassel’s celebrated collection of Flemish and Dutch Old Master paintings in the postwar era, most notably in a groundbreaking arrangement—with paintings without their historical frames—authored by documenta founder Arnold Bode in the mid-1950s. After extensive rebuilding and renovations, a revamped Landesmuseum reopened in November 2016, its commitment to the hazy question of regional identity largely intact. It comprises beautifully arranged installations that offer a great contrast to the traditional architecture.
- If you have some time left, visit the covered Torwache, walk on the rails at Kulturbahnhof and enter the ESTA collection in the Fridericianum. But you are absolutely well off with the four places above. Below you see some impressions of the mentioned locations – just if you don’t know what to do with your leftover time 🙂 My REAL NUMBER 5 are the chill-out areas in my thetreasurette-tips below.
TheTreasurette-Tip: Get a quick lunch at the Press Center. They installed a roof-top lounge area – great and quiet place to chill and reflect some of your first impressions. And its real fun to visit the 70s apartment next door – if you need a quick laugh! Great stuff – best is the bathroom, maybe en vogue again! See below.
TheTreasurette-Fave: Take a coffee and afternoon snack at the Grimmwelt-Coffee-Shop and enjoy the best view in town. The museum itself is worth visiting, not for its content, but for its architecture! And don’t miss to climb up the roof!
This is the famous and REAL Axolotl in the Ottoneum – I had to take a pic for my animal-lover at home!
Hope you have fun reading my review on documenta14,