DOCUMENTA KASSEL 16/06-23/09 2007

documenta 12 - 100 days of art in Kassel


“On the poetics of documenta 12: We conceive of the exhibition as a medium. This takes us away from the mere representation of the ‘world’s best artists’ to the production of an experiential space, in which it is possible to explore the terms ‘art work’ and ‘public’ in stark juxtaposition. What is contemporary art? What is a contemporary public? The experience of art is always the experience of life. If we wish to redefine this relationship, we require a medium to remove us from our immediate “living context”. The aesthetic experience, which begins where meaning in the conventional sense ends, could be such a medium.“ (Roger M. Buergel, Ruth Noack)

Photo: Frank Schinski
Spread across several different venues throughout Kassel, the documenta 12 extended along an axis between the city’s two park landscapes, Karlsaue and Bergpark. The Museum Fridericianum, the documenta-Halle, the Neue Galerie, the Kulturzentrum Schlachthof and Schloss Wilhelmshöhe: Each of these buidings symbolises a specific century, a notion of the public and a concept of viewing art. The exhibition architecture responds to these specific spaces, and these spaces also demand and foster – as at the first documenta in 1955 - debate and communication. This composition is intended to be open, and, in its experimental and concrete character, to serve as an inspiration to look and learn.

Art was also on view in public spaces. Yet the works (the locations are marked on the Exhibition Map) were not simply placed outside, but rather reflect, each in its own specific way, the issue of generating and shaping a public itself.