Athens to Host Documenta 14

Documenta's traditional home, the Kunsthalle Fridericianum in Kassel Photo: Carroy via Wikimedia Commons
Documenta's traditional home, the Kunsthalle Fridericianum in Kassel Photo: Carroy via Wikimedia Commons

Germany’s most famous exhibition and one of contemporary art’s most important, Documenta, is headed to Greece for its 2017 edition. According to Art News, Documenta 14 artistic director Adam Szymczyk has decided to host a significant part of his edition of the quinquennial show in Athens. Documenta’s traditional home, Kassel, will host the remaining portion of the exhibition.

Being organized under the working title “Documenta 14: Learning from Athens,” the exhibition will somewhat surprisingly not focus on the Greek nation’s financial difficulties, and the enmity that has underscored elements of German-Greek relations following harsh austerity measures mandated by the German-backed EU bailout of the country. Rather, Szymczyk tells Art News:

What interested me is that Athens is a contemporary metropolitan city of the Mediterranean that is connected to other places across the water. It borders Turkey, it has an influx of migrants coming all over the place–Asia, Africa, and so forth. It’s a figure of a larger situation that Europe has to confront, and I hope it will confront with this exhibition.

Though surprising, and likely logistically challenging for would-be viewers of Documenta 14, a multi-city Documenta is not unprecedented. Its last edition, curated by Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, had projects spread as wide as Banff, Kabul, and Cairo.

However, Szymczyk appears intent on placing more equal emphasis on the Athens portion of his show than Christov-Bakargiev did with those offsite projects. He has launched a Documenta office in Athens headed by South magazine and Kunsthalle Athena founder Marina Fokidis.


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