Writing Art History Since 2002

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It’s Documenta time, and even in the southern hemisphere there is excitement in the air. dOCUMENTA (13) opens to the public on 9 June, in various venues around Kassel, Germany.

For 100 days, over 150 artists from 55 countries and other participants from around the world will gather and present artworks, including sculpture, performance, installation, research, archiving and curatorial projects, painting, photography, film and video, text and audio works as well as other objects and experiments in the fields of art, politics, literature, philosophy, and science. In total, there are 180 participants from various disciplines. Three of these participants are based in South Africa: William Kentridge, Zanele Muholi, and Kudzanai Chiurai. Chiurai is a Zimbabwean national living in South Africa. Last week we erroneously called him “South African”, but we like to think that it was because he is such a vital part of our art scene here in South Africa. According to this year’s Artistic Director Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, “dOCUMENTA (13) is dedicated to artistic research and forms of imagination that explore commitment, matter, things, embodiment, and active living in connection with, yet not subordinated to, theory and epistemological closures. These are terrains where politics are inseparable from a sensual, energetic, and worldly alliance between current research in various scientific and artistic fields and other knowledges both ancient and contemporary.” In other words, this edition of Documenta is devoted to the idea of art as an interstitial force, and by this account, a plethora of things count as art. Documenta was founded by Arnold Bode in 1955, and takes place in Kassel every five years. Each edition of the exhibition lasts 100 days and focuses on artists at the forefront of contemporary art around the world. In collaboration with the Goethe Institut, Chiurai has organised an unofficial dOCUMENTA (13) opening party at ROOM and CO-OP on Juta Street in Braamfontein, Johannesburg. The event commences at 6pm.

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