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To make things clear from the start I am not an art expert but I love to visit galleries and museums. The documenta is one of the leading exhibitions for contemporary art and takes place every five years in Kassel. As my family is based in Kassel the documenta is something very special for me not only concerning the art. The town virtually blossoms during these weeks as there are not only exhibition rooms but also exterior art pieces installed.
Between June 6th and September 19th Kassel shows again a complete different cityscape, lead by the true to scale replica of the Pantheon in Athens clad by books that were or still are forbidden. Athens is this year’s partner town of the documenta which bears the title “to learn from Athens”. As usual the documenta is highly political, the refugees subject being omnipresent. For example through a marble tent in front of the Grimm’s museum. There the Kurdish artist Hiwa K. had placed concrete tunnel tubes on top of each other in which many stranded refugees had seeked shelter.
This is one of the few art objects at the documenta – next to many hidden installations – which could be reached by foot to experience a true “happening” feeling. Of course I met art lovers from different countries and realized again how international Kassel becomes due to this event.
Even the restaurants were fully booked out. On our last night we had dinner at the “Osteria” the probably most popular Italian restaurant in town. Even art lover Brad Britt was a guest here once. I could tell that the restaurant owners were on the one hand happy about the numerous guests but on the other hand longed for the craziness to end.
Flight, surpression and violence are the issues of this year’s documenta which I personally found hard to digest sometimes. Of course it reflects the spirit of the time but it was partly quite depressing. Nevertheless I am a huge fan of this traditional German art exhibition which had first taken place in 1955. Still I hope that in five years more positive subjects will be curated.