Kassel, an industrial city of 200,000 located in the center of Germany, does not strike one as a compelling summer destination. Yet since 1964, art lovers and art professionals flock to it every five years during 100 summer days of Documenta, an art exhibition highlighting the current state of global art. This year’s Documenta, open through mid September, was rigorously prepared by American curator Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev.
To get to the works by 150 artists from 50 countries or most of them, one needs about three well-planned days involving strolling Kassel’s one square mile landscape park, a variety of hardly-conventional art venues and several museums.
Some of the most haunting works include sound installations, such as Thai artists Apichapong Weerasethakul wind chimes shimmering between the tree leaves, or a classical sculpture with a beehive on its face by French artist Pierre Huyghe, both in the park.
More of the must-see and hear is at the train station. Scottish artist Susan Phillipsz’s installation of classical music at the end of the platform fills the silence between and competes with the train announcements and the nearby church bells. At the station we also find an attention grabbing hypnotic performance and a seductive iPod-video-guided, historical tour of the city by Canadian husband and wife collaborators Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller.
Documenta 13 reinforces the seismic shift that has been occurring in the art world over the past decades. Moving amongst physical spheres, throughout global art festivals, as today’s narratives. The museum as a privileged enclosed space reserved for the consumption of art is a construct of the past, while traveling and then hiking remote locations to experience art is burgeoning.
  • -Aneta Glinkowska
Aneta Glinkowska is a Brooklyn-based art worker, co-founder of NYArtBeat. She manages the blog and listings from her living room, sharing the work/dining table with her partner and the floor with their infant daughter. Aneta studied Biology as an undergraduate and Film Studies as a graduate student. While living in Tokyo, working as a contributor to Tokyo Art Beat and the Japan Times, she began writing and making videos about contemporary art. A photographer and videographer, she's been an avid documentarian of her life, including art events she attends several times a week @perke

August 2012