Documenta 14 in Kassel... (Part III)


08/14/17 - The Neue Galerie is a public museum of modern art that is one of the headquarters of documenta. There, the installation by Maria Eichhorn gets all the spotlight. It's a library containing all the books which belonged to deported or killed jews by the Nazis during WWII. The German artist created the artwork as a tribute to French historian Rose Valland who was part of the Resistance and tracked the Nazi loot. The books that could not be restituted to their rightful owners have been kept in Berlin's Central Library since 1943. The installation poses questions about restitution and the investigation of origins, as many other artworks in this documenta.

Unlawfully Acquired Books from Jewish Ownership, by Maria Eichhorn (2017)
Rose Valland Institute
The Fridericianum, documenta's main headquarters, receives visitors with a different name on its facade. It's an artwork by Banu Cennetoglu who made an intervention on the entrance with a graffiti taken from a wall of the National Technology University of Athens. The site specific pretends a cultural union, as proposed by the curators, between the two cities: Athens and Kassel.
Beingsafeisscary, de Banu Cennetoglu (2017)
Inside the museum, most of the artworks belong (as expected) to Greek artists. "Gong" by Takis shakes our perception: it's a big metal arm that hits an iron board. The noise echoes all over the building and it never leaves us while we tour the exhibition. The sound makes us shiver and we are forced to speak loudly to communicate. Of course, there's no one to ask us to remain quiet and so the murmur is constant. This is quite usual nowadays because museums are no longer solemn and silent, but places to "live an experience and share it". The same happens with cell phones and photos. Each artwork is photographed from every angle. This is probably why there are so many installations  that reflect us, as we've seen in Venice in Michelangelo Pistoletto's and Alicja Kwade's exhibitions in Arsenale, for example. 
Here Lucas Samaras places his reflecting surfaces in a permanent large installation, surrounded by people taking selfies.
Gong, by Takis (1978)
Metal & electromagnet

Hebraic Embrace, by Lucas Samaras (1991-2005)
Wood, mirror and iron
Of all the venues, the Neue Neue Galerie gets all the ovations. It is far from the main square but, after a long walk, we face the most attractive artworks of Kassel. For instance, Dan Peterman's site-specific. This American artist is interested in metals, mater and volume. For Kassel he created a project that could unite the two cities and he looked for a typical material of each area: iron from Germany and copper from Greece. At the Neue Neue, Peterman placed several bags with iron ingots  from a factory that recycles metal. The bags bring to mind American minimalism and, at the same time,  hey refer to the constant flow of commodities that keep global economy afloat. 

Kassel Ingot Project (Iron), by Dan Peterman (2017)
Iron ingots
In this same venue there's also an installation by Norwegian artist Maret Anne Sara which combines environment and architecture. It's a curtain made with hundred reindeer skulls and each one of them has a bullet hole. She wants to put the spotlight on eco-friendly, spiritual and political issues, such as the massacre of buffalos to strip indians from their lands or the massive killing of animals.

Pile o’ Sápmi, by Máret Ánne Sara (2017)
Curtain with reindeer skulls and iron cables

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Liliana Wrobel

Production & Translation

Carla Mitrani