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Observations in space and time
von Zimmermann Jörg | 6/13/2012

Life: at Documenta 13 in Kassel it is the examination of life, the relationship between man and object, the relation of space and time and thereby the location itself that forms the focal point of the artistic reflections. It is therefore no small wonder that politics and social structures also come into play here, for the locations always likewise forge temporal links, which ultimately (and for the most part indirectly) reference political dimensions themselves. And on top of that, as called for by Documenta’s Creative Director Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, it would be nice if we could also take the perspective of other creatures into consideration too, dogs, for example, or bees. The question as to whether the outcome is art or not loses its relevance here, if only because everything that is done “could at least be taken up by art”. So there you go. Even if all the works in Kassel are not of an equal standard, following an initial review the rumors of a supposed lack of concept that marked the run-up to the world’s largest art exhibition appear have quickly subsided. The sheer number of participating artists is overwhelming, the range of works unsettling and refreshing at the same time.

On Friedrichstrasse, for example. The old Huguenot house there has finally had some life injected into it thanks to a project by Chicago artist Theaster Gates. Workers from Kassel and Chicago came together to render the building, which has stood empty since the 1970s, useful again. A project that is both social and practical; restricted in place and time. Right next door, Tino Sehgal has plunged a hall in the Grand City Hotel Hessenland originally designed by Arnold Bode into complete darkness, filling the beholder with fear; a fear that only subsides when helpers who are unseen but clearly audible direct you along an uncertain path through the darkness. The beholder suffers the loss of an entire level of perception, which leads them directly to a kind of enlightenment as regard relations and interdependencies.

In conclusion, Documenta 13 isn’t so easy to digest. The tour through Fridericianum, Documenta-Halle, Kulturbahnhof and the other exhibition spaces reveals how Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev and her team delved deep into the complexity of political, social, historical and scientific connections, which often draw a link to local happenings or places that are in turn – either directly or via the exhibited works – connected with other exhibition spaces across the globe in Kabul, Alexandria or Alberta in Canada. However it is the works in the Karlsaue that prove that a depth of content can – but does not have to – go hand in hand with lightweight production. In order to access the works in the rambling park, the visitor has to quite literally set out on a journey. Widely scattered across the space, at times hidden, the works are waiting to be discovered. And here too time and space interlace for the visitor creating a very practical dimension.

Documenta 13
From June 9 through September 16, 2012
Kassel
d13.documenta.de

berg’s uncertainty principle or the quantum limit according to Erwin Schrödinger. Photo © Jörg Zimmermann, Stylepark
Photo © Jörg Zimmermann, Stylepark
Photo © Jörg Zimmermann, Stylepark
ntation of corresponding works in separate locations constitutes a key part of the creative concept for Documenta 13. Photo © Jörg Zimmermann, Stylepark
Photo © Jörg Zimmermann, Stylepark
interpersonal communication. Photo © Jörg Zimmermann, Stylepark
n. There are hardly any perceivable intrinsic sounds, being drowned out by a loop of prayer excerpts being played. In his works Bayrle repeatedly seeks to question concepts such as synchronicity and virtuosity. Photo © Jörg Zimmermann, Stylepark
Photo © Jörg Zimmermann, Stylepark
Photo © Jörg Zimmermann, Stylepark
Photo © Jörg Zimmermann, Stylepark
und, the victims break down in front of the cell-phone camera. The installation is rounded off with flipbooks and large-format images of the murderers’ pixilated faces. Photo © Jörg Zimmermann, Stylepark
e individual components has however been subjected to dramatic alterations. Photo © Jörg Zimmermann, Stylepark
Photo © Jörg Zimmermann, Stylepark
, for example – which also appear in Kentridge’s previous works. Photo © Jörg Zimmermann, Stylepark
Photo © Jörg Zimmermann, Stylepark
the concept of “sociatry” conceived by Jacob Levy in the 1930s. Photo © Jörg Zimmermann, Stylepark
Photo © Jörg Zimmermann, Stylepark
nks to an elliptical transmission displays the correct time. Photo © Jörg Zimmermann, Stylepark
ally reworked objects characterized by a minimalist aesthetic. Photo © Jörg Zimmermann, Stylepark
Doug Ashford’s small-scale works are to be seen in one of the sheds in the Karlsaue. Ashford combines these abstract paintings (tempera on wooden panels) with images of people in moments of helplessness or great need. Photo © Jörg Zimmermann, Stylepark
nn, Stylepark
Photo © Jörg Zimmermann, Stylepark
Directly next door to the Huguenot House, Francis Alÿs exhibits studies on paper and canvas in postcard format. Photo © Jörg Zimmermann, Stylepark
connections within this often hidden realm of social reality. Photo © Jörg Zimmermann, Stylepark
the opening week of the exhibition. Photo © Jörg Zimmermann, Stylepark
Photo © Jörg Zimmermann, Stylepark
es that do not seek to hide the mutations and scars they suffered during their “sculptural” operations. Photo © Jörg Zimmermann, Stylepark
Photo © Jörg Zimmermann, Stylepark
Lost Frontier” appears very much three-dimensional. Photo © Jörg Zimmermann, Stylepark
Photo © Jörg Zimmermann, Stylepark
lerie. Photo © Jörg Zimmermann, Stylepark
Photo © Jörg Zimmermann, Stylepark
ut from the last 50 volumes of the US magazine “Life” and mounted on thin wooden sticks. Photo © Jörg Zimmermann, Stylepark
Photo © Jörg Zimmermann, Stylepark
Photo © Jörg Zimmermann, Stylepark
oto © Jörg Zimmermann, Stylepark
great attention to detail. The installation is flanked by a group of well-dressed figures, mannequins, whose clothing references the products that would once have been produced in the sewing room depicted. Photo © Jörg Zimmermann, Stylepark
display, which, positioned on a disused track, points to the alternating, mechanical movements of the trains. Photo © Jörg Zimmermann, Stylepark
Photo © Jörg Zimmermann, Stylepark
ermann, Stylepark
Photo © Jörg Zimmermann, Stylepark
imistic eye-catcher: white smoke rises from the hut’s little chimney from time to time. Photo © Jörg Zimmermann, Stylepark
Photo © Jörg Zimmermann, Stylepark
Photo © Jörg Zimmermann, Stylepark
Photo © Jörg Zimmermann, Stylepark
Photo © Jörg Zimmermann, Stylepark