Wednesday, January 24, 2007

50 Jahrs/Years documenta, archive in motion 1955-2005

50 Jahre / Years documenta 1955 – 2005
archive in motion
Exhibition dates: January 21 - February 5, 2007
Venue: Shanghai Zendai Museum of Modern Art (Bd.28, 199 Fangdian
Rd,Pudong, Shanghai 2F)


The world's most important contemporary art exhibition: documenta in
Kassel. It shows current trends in contemporary art every five years,
offering space for new exhibition concepts at the same time. And it has
been doing this for fifty years. Scarcely anyone imagined that it would
be such a success when the first documenta opened in 1955. Arnold Bode,
who conceived and initiated the documenta world art exhibition, worked
with art historian Werner Haftmann to present the development of art
from the early 20th century onwards, banned under the National
Socialists, in the ruins of the Museum Fridericianum, which had been
destroyed in the Second World War. At that time, Classical Modernism
was deliberately emphasized as a pan-European phenomenon. documenta
still connects a wide variety of art worlds - with a different
artistic director each time – and has made history itself by doing
this. Our major anniversary exhibition unfolds this history for us: the
documenta phenomenon can be experienced and lived through in a variety
of ways.

The story of documenta from its first appearance as an exhibition
accompanying the National Horticultural Show (1955) to documenta 11
(2002) is full of contradictions and breaks reflecting different
artistic and curatorial passions, philosophies and theories just as
much as political and social movements. 50 years of documenta are 50
years of the history of art and of contemporary history that cannot be
grasped in linear sequence.

To do justice to the unique nature of each documenta, the wide range of
documentary material is presented in eleven separate small galleries.
This presentation method makes the archive material directly accessible
and immediately intelligible. The compilation is accompanied by work by
contemporary artists who respond to the archives by addressing one
documenta each. Their work proposes a broader view of things and
shows – alongside the documentary material – how archives can be
handled creatively.

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