Universes in Universe - Worlds of Art

Kassel, Germany



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Documenta: Editions since 1955
Brief overview


Documenta 1

Parallel to a National Garden Show the painter and academy professor from Kassel Arnold Bode (1900-1977) initiates an exhibition of contemporary art. Together with the art historian Werner Haftmann he presents a retrospective of classical Modernism defamed by the Nazis as "degenerated" art as well as younger artworks.



Documenta 2

The great success of the first show (130.000 visitors) confirmed Bode and Werner Haftmann, to plan an even more extensive exhibition. The Museum Fridericianum was not sufficient any more, further exhibition places were included.



Documenta 3

That the last Edition under the direction of Arnold Bode and Werner Haftmann. In the catalog preface Bode designates for the first time a documenta as a "Museum of 100 Days".



Documenta 4

Vehement controversies accompany its preparation. Werner Haftmann resigns. A committee of 23 members determines the selection of the artists. After the retrospective direction of the first three Editions, from now on almost exclusively the current art production will be shown.



Documenta 5

After Arnold Bode the Swiss curator Harald Szeemann is appointad as the solely responsible "secretary general". His concept for Documenta: "The Questioning of Reality - Image Worlds Today".



Documenta 6

Manfred Schneckenburger is the artistic director of this edition. Film, photography and video are among the main focuses of his show. Its inclusion of official artists from Eastern Germany faces vehement protest.



Documenta 7

Rudi Fuchs from the Netherlands is in charge of this Documenta. He dedicates special attention to painting, particularly to the "Neuen Wilden" from Germany. The 7.000 basalt stones from Joseph Beuys are among the most spectacular artworks of the show.



Documenta 8

Manfred Schneckenburger, a second time head of a documenta, proposes to examine the "historical and the social dimension of art". Sound and video installations as well as a performance program were expected to achieve this. Architecture and design are also given great importance.



Documenta 9

Artistic head it is the Belgian Jan Hoet. The fact that to this Documenta came more than 600.000 visitors, is ascribed in particular to Hoets charisma and talent for putting himself in scene. However, just this staging as event is refused by the art criticism.



Documenta 10

With Catherine David, from France, for the first time a woman undertakes the direction of a documenta. She sees her concept as a "critical confrontation with the present" and stresses her ethical and political claim: " the last documenta of this century can hardly evade the task of elaborating a historical and critical gaze on its own history, on the recent past of the post-war period, and on everything from this now-vanished age that remains in ferment within contemporary art and culture..."
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Documenta 11

With Okwui Enwezor, born and grown in Nigeria, for the first time a Non European curator is appointed as the artistic of documenta.
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Documenta 12

Artistic director: Roger M. Buergel
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