Documenta Will Forge Ahead With the Show’s 15th Edition in the Summer of 2022 as Planned

The supervisory board and the shareholders met this morning to make a decision about whether or not to postpone the event.

A mural with the new documenta fifteen logo can be seen on the so-called "ruruHaus" by the Indonesian curatorial collective Ruangrupa on a former sports shop in downtown Kassel. Photo: Swen Pförtner/picture alliance via Getty Images.

Documenta has decided that its 15th edition will take place next summer as planned, despite ongoing uncertainty due to the pandemic.

The supervisory board and shareholders of the exhibition met this morning to decide whether it should maintain its original schedule of June 18 to September 25, 2022. Christian Geselle, chair of the supervisory board and the mayor of Kassel, said that during an hours-long discussion, the various actors weighed a range of complications, including staff organizational issues and travel plans for the artists and cultural workers who come to Kassel from all over the world for the exhibition.

After considering the possibility of holding an event with restrictions on travel, the board ultimately decided to proceed largely as planned, even if it means scaling down exhibition expectations and visitor numbers.

One of the world’s most prestigious art exhibitions, Documenta takes place every five years in Kassel, an otherwise quiet city in Germany. Ruangrupa, an artist-collective based in Jakarta is curating the 15th edition, making it the first collective to do so.

Ade Darmawan, a member of Ruangrupa, said at a press conference that most of their preparations so far have taken place on Zoom. “This has also been great to expand our horizons,” he said. The collective has already selected around 53 artists, who will be announced in September.

“The idea of postponing means that we are envisioning a time when things can go back to normal, but this likely won’t happen,” said Darmawan. “We need to live with these new normalities.”

Darmawan said that groups of artists have been able to travel to site visits in Kassel since June.

For the next edition, Ruangrupa is focusing on the concept lumbung, a collectively governed rice barn in rural Indonesia where food is stored for the benefit of the community.

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