Sunday, 19 August 2012

dOCUMENTA (13) - Kassel

We dropped in at dOCUMENTA (13) in Kassel for a couple of days on our way back to London from Copenhagen.  

There's almost too much to see, and in that sense it is as overwhelming as Frieze.  But as a once-in-five-years event perhaps it can be forgiven for trying to cram everything in.  For me the memorable pieces were:

1.  Ryan Gander's "I Need Some Meaning I Can Memorise (The Invisible Pull) 2012"  - a contemplative piece that simultaneously achieves highly abstract with extremely visceral.   The work occupies the entire, large, ground floor of the Fridericianum - the space is completely empty apart from wind.  As you walk in you think "someone left a window open, that's a nice cool breeze" and then you realise that the wind has been modulated, and as you move around the space it takes on different qualities.  There's places where it is even quite a strong wind.  And absolutely no evidence at all anywhere of how this apparent act of defiance of physics has been achieved.   A very unusual piece activating sensations that normally aren't part of the aesthetic process.

2.  Nedko Solakov's installation in the Brothers Grimm museum - Knights (and other dreams).   The artist's unfulfilled childhood dreams included being a drummer in a rock band, flying helicopters, and being a knight.   So at the age of 55 he has managed to combine all 3 of these activities into an engrossing, charming and ultimately very happy installation.

Playing drums in a suit of armour
I'd not come across him before, his paintings are also fantastic, and rather more darkly political than the drumming.

3.  There were so many artists being shown one could write very long lists.  I particularly noticed   Khadim Ali's The Haunted Lotus 2011-12 - a piece made of 4 paintings in gouache and gold leaf making reference to the Taliban and their destruction of religious symbols.

The Haunted Lotus

I'll no doubt be returning to Kassel in 2017 for the next instalment.