art 2002/2
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Louise Bourgeois. Celė XVIII (Portretas). 2000, plienas, audinys, medis, stiklas, 208 x 122 x 129,5

Bodys Iseko Kingelezo architektūrinių utopijų projektai. 1994-2001

Jeff Wall. Nematomas žmogus. 1999-2001, fotografija

Jarodos "Documenta 11" ekspozicijos fragmentas


Documenta 11 - the Artistic Tower of Babel

by Raminta Jurėnaitė

The "Documenta 11" exhibition held in Kassel was the focus of the world’s attention for one hundred days. The curator of the exhibition Nigerian artist Okwui Enwezor, based in New York, heavily related his project to politics.
The exposition was located in the Kassel downtown and on the outskirts, in several buildings of diverse destination. It started in the wing of the railway station building or Kulturbahnhof, with its central location being the Fredericanum building in the Friedrich square. A special shuttle bus was supplied to take viewers to the former Bindingbrauerei, which was for the first time utilized for exhibition purposes. No matter how different, the spatial quality of these buildings was applied in a similar manner to be dominated by white cells and labyrinth architecture. Most of them were semi-shadowed to allow video project demonstration; others were well-lit and contained photographs, drawings, architectural models or installations. With the installation by Hanne Darboven being the only dominant of the exposition, most artistic exhibits were presented in the parallel manner to remind particles of a honeycomb. While no dominant themes or groups of exhibits were possible to identify initially, yet a deeper glimpse offered the realization that the exhibits exemplified and extended the four political discussion platforms heavily focused upon through this past year in several continents: in Vienna, New Delhi, Berlin, Santa Lucia, in the Caribbean, and in the Nigerian town Lagos. The following themes were analyzed: 1. "Democracy as an On-going Process"; 2. Experimenting in Truth: Development of Legal Systems. The Search for Truth and Reconciliation Processes"; 3. "Créolité and Creolization" 4. "Under the Siege: Four Towns of Africa - Freetown, Johannesburg, Lagos and Kinshasa". As the curator Okwui Enwezor noted, "the Kassel exhibition should be taken as the fifth political platform". The five platforms make up the amalgam, which attempts at interpretation and actualization of historic processes and radical changes, the space and time shifts, which identifies fields of political involvement and channels of mental processes, thus giving an extraordinary extension to the "Documenta 11" exhibition.
Global urbanization was one of the key themes, exemplified by abundant projects of towns and parks offering radical, utopian or realistic reforms or just imaginary visions. Within this group, the architectural utopia projects by Constant and Bodys Isek Kingelez were extremely captivating. In 1956-1974, Constant developed "The New Babylon", visionary project of urban planning. Its retrospective, including various models, drawings, graphics, collages and pictures was presented in "Documenta 11" as an innovative specimen of this field. Alongside, photographs were displayed on diverse urban themes.
The platform "Under the Siege: Four Towns of Africa - Freetown, Johannesburg, Lagos, Kinshasa" attempted at analyzing the political and economic situation of the four African cities affected by a considerable growth of population. The artists participating in "Documenta 11" have prevalently witnessed their interest in political, social, and ecological aspects of the megalopolis of the Third World.
The photographs produced by the Olumuyiva Olamide Osifuye became the most impressive chronicle documenting the pulse of chaotic growth of the cities - conglomerates.
The exhibition also featured the works of Louise Bourgeois, the most famous female artist in the nowadays world, the pioneer of the feministic art. Since 1985, utilizing sculptures and diverse found objects in her cell - type portraits, she has been enacting her subjective reminiscences. Her drawings became the extension of her artistic vision in "Documenta 11".
The themes of totalitarian regimes, crime, racial, national and religious hatred and its instigation were documented by the participants of the exhibition as their painful personal experiences.
Collective memory and collective amnesia were the themes explored by Sanja Ivekovich.
Torturing was the leitmotif of "The Torturing of Uruguay" (1938-84), the series of the photographic engravings by Luis Camnitzer.
"Transaction", the project by the Lithuanian artists Nomeda and Gediminas Urbonai, got successfully integrated into the political and social framework of the "Documenta 11" intent on analyzing democratic processes. By making use of film archives, discussions and interviews, the Urbonai investigated the female image in Lithuanian movies and other artistic media, as well as the impact this image had upon the bearing of women in society. The faces of Lithuanian female intellectuals and their attitudes stroke an unexpected and challenging chord in the multitude of voices of "Documenta 11". It is also of importance that this was the first appearance of Lithuania in such influential international exhibition and, organically integrated, it added to its total effect. The socially committed inter-disciplinary project by the Urbonai contrasted by its character to the subjective commentaries of the movie by Jonas Mekas titled "While moving along I would occasionally catch instantaneous glimpses of beauty" (2002).
Classical fragments of conceptual art were mostly chosen to visually express the theme of time. On Kawara, a New York based artist, demonstrated his "Project of Million Years" started in 1970, to exemplify the importance of dates in human history.
One of the main dominants of the exhibition was the retrospective of the German artist Hanne Darboven comprised of her spatial installation, her books, movies, and music. Since 1960 Darboven has been consistently pursuing her "Schreibzeit" ("The Time of Writing") concept.
Traditional art received only limited representation in "Documenta 11" mostly dominated by artistic documentation and social projects. Out of one hundred artists participating, only four were painters with their themes being mostly inspired by politics or the history of culture.
Thus the exhibition "Documenta 11" puts too heavy an emphasis on the documentary aspect. Some investigations into the global status presented through the works exhibited require additional commentaries. Yet other issues call for no more than TV or newspaper coverage. Yet alongside to expanding our knowledge and arousing our curiosity, a visit to the "Documenta 11" forum also reinforces our vigilance. This, generally speaking, means that the intent of the exhibition curator Okwui Enwezor has worked out successfully.

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