Ever since Arnold Bode founded documenta in 1955, it has provided an opportunity for inquiry in and through contemporary art. Every five years, art lovers from around the world travel all the way to Kassel, Germany, to experience and learn about the art of their time.
For dOCUMENTA (13) Artistic Director Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, documenta is once again a field awaiting definition; her methods are similar to those used by the artists with whom she works. Established concepts, fossilized ideologies, and one-dimensional theories are relevant to her only as forms to be reperformed.
Preparations for summer 2012 are already in high gear: more than half of the artists have been invited and are working on their projects. In addition, a circle of about twenty Advisors and Agents from various scientific and humanistic disciplines and from around the world are assisting her to help shape the consciously open-ended process of creating dOCUMENTA (13).
“In an art world that is dominated by curatorial rhetoric,” says Christov-Bakargiev, “working without a preconceived curatorial concept offers an opportunity to use our ability to network in the digital age while, at the same time, to take a critical look at the political implications of the notion of networking and information exchange.” According to Christov-Bakargiev, her action relies on “a precise poetics and on the possibilities of complex engagement in present-day reality. Thus, dOCUMENTA (13) deliberately avoids a single, overall concept, choreographing many different kinds of materials, methodologies, and forms of knowledge. For, if we have known for the past thirty years that the world is complex, chaotic, and nonlinear, and this knowledge has ushered in an economy of participation, then documenta must aspire, by contrast, to instead exercise imagination as a space of accuracy in which to practice and challenge our definition of the political.”
As a preview to dOCUMENTA (13), and as a part of it, various activities have already been realized. These include a conference in Turin in September 2009; the AND AND AND projects, which have been ongoing since June 2010; the installation on the summer solstice of 2010 of the sculpture Idee di Pietra by Giuseppe Penone in Karlsaue Park; and the screening on Valentine’s Day of 2011 of Pierre Huyghe’s film The Host and the Cloud at Kassel’s Gloria cinema. Additionally, two artists’ books have been published by Hatje Cantz: Guillermo Faivovich and Nicolás Goldberg’s The Campo del Cielo Meteorites – Vol. 1: El Taco, and seeing studies, edited by Natascha Sadr Haghighian and Ashkan Sepahvand for the institute for incongruous translation. And finally, the first publications within the 100 Notes – 100 Thoughts series of notebooks have appeared and will be followed by many more.