Have you been hearing about the much-hyped contemporary art spectacle Documenta 14, but still aren’t really sure what it’s all about? Anita Robert explains what this high-profile event – for both connoisseurs and neophytes alike – means for Athens.
The quinquennial event of contemporary art, Documenta, will be held jointly in Athens (8 April to 16 July 2017) and in Kassel, Germany (from 10 June to 17 September 2017).
More than an artistic encounter, Documenta is a place of experimentation and debate on the state of our societies. Under the title “Learning from Athens”, artistic director Adam Szymczyk chose for this fourteenth edition to engage artists in a reflection based on the “Greek crisis” on the Western model in the broad sense and North-South relations. Several of the themes to be discussed at Documenta have a strong resonance to current political discussion whether at conferences or at dinner tables: the neo-liberal model, the future of Europe, refugees, democracy, resistance.
The work of the Argentine artist Marta Minujin “The Parthenon of books” illustrates this approach. From the books that have been censored and re-published around the world, the temple on the Acropolis will be reconstructed on the Friedrichplatz in Kassel, where 2,000 books were burned by the Nazi regime (see illustration).
More than 130 artists will be exhibited during the 100 days of Documenta in museums, buildings and public spaces of Athens. Besides visiting exhibitions and installations, the public will be able to participate in projections, concerts, and thematic visits.
Since last September, the Athens Municipal Art Centre in Parko Eleftherias has evolved into a laboratory of ideas for Documenta14 – a meeting point for Greek and international artists, historians, theoreticians and curators at conferences, workshops and screenings.
In that spirit, during an event entitled “Parliament of bodies”, 34 militants from all over the world came to Parko to freely express their thoughts in “34 exercises of freedom”.
For its part, Greek television ERD2 broadcasts a film, fiction or documentary every Monday evening at midnight, selected by Documenta14 (until 18 September 2017).
Several events are scheduled in Athens during the opening week of 8-12 April 2017.
For more info, visit www.documenta14.de
Insider Weekly, February 22, 2017.