On June 9, 2012, dOCUMENTA (13) will open to the public in Kassel. Since it was established in 1955, documenta has been regarded as a key international exhibition of contemporary art worldwide and a moment of reflection on the relationship between art and society. It takes place every five years, and runs for 100 days.
In 2012, over 160 artists and other participants from around the world will meet and present a variety of artistic practices, including sculpture, performance, installation, research and archiving, painting, photography, film, curatorial, text-based and audio works as well as other experiments in the fields of aesthetics, art, politics, literature, science, and ecology. For the Artistic Director Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, dOCUMENTA (13) is a form of inquiry and indulgence in materials. Her intuitive approach resembles that of the artists and other participants she has chosen to work with. Thus, the 13th edition of documenta will be a surprising stage to present questions that shape our notion of life in the present.
This exhibition speaks about the uniqueness of our relationship with objects and our fascination with them. It explores the individual and troubled histories of these objects, and their shifting connotations. The materials of these objects are earthly: from solid carved stone to ceramics (permanent yet breakable). There are eccentric, precarious, and fragile objects, ancient and contemporary objects, innocent objects and objects that have lost something; destroyed objects, damaged objects and indestructible objects, stolen objects, hidden or disguised objects, objects on retreat, objects in refuge, traumatized objects. The “riddle” of dOCUMENTA (13) is a paradox, a space of many secrets, a space of violence, and a space of potential healing.
dOCUMENTA (13) is offering a variety of activities for different groups of people to engage with the project, learn about it and question its diverse aspects and meanings.
Embedded in the overall speculative approach of dOCUMENTA (13), in the connectivity of different knowledges, and in the specific histories of educational endeavors in the discourses of art and science, these activities are called “Maybe Education and Public Programs”. “Maybe” names not a lack, nor a disenchantment, but the tension needed to maintain a state of imagination capable of inhabiting the possible.
Thus the Maybe Education and Public Programs of dOCUMENTA (13) are conceived around attentiveness to the many forms research takes inside art, language, matter, form and experience. A multiplicity of artists led activities, a series of congresses and talks, a film program, activities specifically keyed towards children and schools, and a series of guided thematic tours through the exhibition called “dTOURS” are intitiated to enact forms of significance that surpass the disciplines.
The dTOURS of dOCUMENTA (13) last 2 hours each. They will be led by trained personnel called “Worldly Companions”, mainly from Kassel and with different backgrounds and knowledges, and including people of different generations. These dTOURS will depart from a particular venue of the exhibition and address the subjects that are predominant in the works of art shown there. For example, how would a gardener of the Auepark inspire and frame a dTOUR through the many artworks in the park? In addition to that, there will be series of special dTOURS, allowing for other logics and different kinds of experiences, such as an 'endurance' dTOUR.
Julia Moritz, Head of Maybe Education and Public Programs
03 MAY 2011 /
the utopian dream and its unexpected side effects
By MOON KYUNGWON & JEON JOONHO
These apartments, once called the 'strata of the future,' are now regarded as the fruits of overproduction. At first, they presented the 'mise-en-scene' of a convivial family replete with fair hope and equal comfort, basically, a promise of an impartial posterity. Taken in 1972, this picture represents the monumental construction of the multi-housing complex in the Yong-dong district in the southeastern outskirts of Seoul. At the same time, the picture is also a printed proof of a developing country inching toward “progress”. In this light, the apartments also doubled as symbols to represent the economic development granted to the 'Neo-Middle Class' (a term coined under the Motherland Modernization Proposition). Such other 'modernizations' proliferated throughout the country with the motto: "Enjoyment at work, contentment in life." Yet, those who desired to rise as this neo-bourgeois had to standardize their life and dreams to match the squared convention required to hitch a ride on the road to the utopia dream. And nowadays, these same generic matchbox homes have become the very culprit of social discord as their homogenization has produced negative, alienating, results. This has left us with a question: aren’t utopian dreams supposed to come in many different shapes and forms?
Text and image courtesy of the artists (with permission of the National Archives of Korea's image copyright)
The Berlin based gallery VW (VeneKlasen/Werner) presents the first exhibition of Roger Fritz's production photographs from Rainer Werner Fassbinder's 1982 film Querelle. The event is unique for many reasons. The photographer, Roger Fritz documents and brings to life an imagery of the 1980's culture that has influenced the contemporary vision and perception of the gay and straight lifestyle.
Fritz's idea to produce and to show his work remind us that our contemporary culture has a history and a foundation in the 80's and 90' and again how German contribution has been important over the years.
Rainer Werner Fassbinder is considered to be among the most important practitioners within the so-called New German Cinema. In March 1982, production began on what would become Fassbinder's last film. With an international cast including Jeanne Moreau, Brad Davis and Franco Nero, Querelle debuted in Paris later the same year, only a few short months after Fassbinder's tragic death.
Based on Jean Genet's 1947 novel, Querelle de Brest, with a screenplay co-written by Fassbinder and Burkhard Driest, the film tells the story of the handsome sailor Querelle, a thief and smuggler disoriented by a series of crimes, sexual encounters and depraved deals in the port town of Brest. The film's imaginative exploration of violence and sexuality were quite unlike anything that had come before it. Fassbinder's willful ambiguity toward these difficult themes - at once dramatic and humorous - signify an openness toward the taboos and vivid realities of Genet's story, something few cinematic artists of the time would even dare to approach.
Stylistically, Querelle surpasses even Fassbinder's most outlandish visuals, with unprecedented use of lurid color, lighting and a highly symbolic set design, as well as a striking use of sound and voiceover to complicate the film's already labyrinthine plot. Querelle was widely misunderstood by critics of the time. Often pigeonholed as mere camp - a term Fassbinder bristled at and continually resisted - careful examination of the film proves it to be something much deeper and complex. The themes Fassbinder tackled in Querelle are larger than life and his extreme visualization of the story is the only suitable manifestation of it.
The images of Querelle on display at VeneKlasen/Werner were captured by Roger Fritz, a photographer, producer and performer who worked daily on Fassbinder's set as an actor and production documentarian. Fritz's photographs were previously known to exist only as Querelle - The Film Book. Published to coincide with the film's release, the book reproduced Fritz's 119 production photographs in sequence. Their presentation at VeneKlasen/Werner is the first time they have been exhibited anywhere. Unlike film stills, which are taken directly from filmed footage, production photographs are by nature reenactments of filmed sequences; the production shot must be staged for the still camera. Fritz's photographs capture Fassbinder's dynamic compositions, at times freezing the dramatic action, in other moments closing in on an actor's face or odd prop.
The resulting images evoke the surreal drama and atmosphere of the film. They are uncomfortably beautiful and somewhat puzzling: as instances of documentary photography, Fritz's photographs are thoroughly pure, honest and "true"; yet the scenes they portray were highly artificial, as "false" as anything seen in modern film.