Well Well Well.. Antisemitismus is the word that accidentally is now used to adjective the Documenta fifteen. As I talk with one of the organizers, the root idea, intentions, and concept of this event were completely shifted to a fear that follows the German citizens and politicians, used to attack each other. I have sixteen years of living in Germany and I have observed that is really common for this culture to search and find the guilty in every error made. After the “Antisemitismus discovering” the documenta became in a witch-hunting… until to find a head to cut, and in this case, was the head of the Documenta director. This is not my country but I feel very sorry for these people.
Now I realize that the Documenta is an event that is already big for Germany. Germany has been the host and organizer and has been always playing a neutral role for all critical works, artists, and projects presented here. And not only in this event but in other political artistic issues like the one of Chinese artist Ai Wei Wei. But yes, it is ok when the critic is for other countries but not his own. Actually, some of the organizers was commenting that some high-level people wanted to transfer the organization of the Documenta to an international committee, that in theory should be more neutral.
I applaud the Ex-Director of the Documenta, the Ruangrupa, and the artists that showed these artworks, not because I support these controversial ideas or idealogy, but because the topic of Antiseminitismus has been always a tabu in Germany, and now it is occurring a huge debate around it and I hope will bring a self and international reflection and to heal a huge wound that the German people carry out.
Ok, now I have to tell you the truth: I was four days visiting all venues of the Documenta, (It is really huge event and was exhausting trying to complete it all. Actually, I could not complete it, mainly because of two reasons: there are many participative projects that should be invested more than one hour, and second I was meeting people, commenting, and talking.) And the last word that would cross my mind was Antisemitismus. I will put it in big words: THERE IS NOTHING LIKE THAT IN ANY VENUE AND ANY ARTWORK (that I visited and saw). Please don’t be confused and manipulated by the media and politicians.
So, one important point to comment on is that dont expect to find the kind of art that is shown in the Venice Biennale. This edition of the Documenta is loaded with a high political and social engaged art. Commented with one of the organizers: The idea is that all this infrastructure of artworks and art projects creates the base of a social change, that transcends the documenta and is taken by the “someone” as a project to keep developing in the society. Im transcribing here the main concept of the curators, the Ruangrupa:
“We want to create a globally oriented, collaborative, and interdisciplinary art and culture platform that will remain effective beyond the 100 days of documenta fifteen. Our curatorial approach strives for a different kind of collaborative model of resource use — in economic terms but also with regard to ideas, knowledge, programs, and innovations.“
Most of the artworks and art projects selected for the Documenta, are really in the classification of the latest contemporary art. Young artists with brave and radical great ideas, it is really enjoyable to walk over the different spaces and interact, immerse or simply observe the works. I was really surprised by how many of the artworks were created by artists’ collectives, and the majority didn’t count with a gallery representation. They were artists that are fighting to survive and to create their artworks and projects.
One unique thing that is happening in this Documenta that never happened in the other editions is the Lumbung Gallery. This is the first time that is possible to buy artwork from the Document directly. Prices go from a range that is really affordable starting from a couple of Euros until a couple of thousands (not reaching the common art market prices, considering that this artists once the Documenta finish will increase their speculative value) But this is not all, there has been a lot of discussions how the prices were setting it up (when I asked there were many artists that still didn’t set it up prices to their works). But the point is that above the price (artwork costs + artist work) 30% extra was charged for the Lumbung artist’s community. What was not clear is how this accumulation of 30% will be distributed to the artists of the Lumbung community that counts with 1500 artists and who will take the decisions of what will be done with that money. (This is a case for the ODBK! )
Call to action!
The Organization for the Democratization of the Visual Arts(ODBK) is a Berlin-based organization whose aim is to create diversity, equality, inclusion, and democracy in the art world. Join us! We need your help to change the current status quo.