Touring the various exhibition spaces and presentation venues that comprise documenta 12
, I can’t help but feel perplexed and confused. Was it the exhibition structure or was it just me? After so many days of cycling, then spending time video editing, searching for internet access, uploading video sequences to the blog site, and reviewing comments and correspondences, maybe I was just too exhausted mentally to digest what I had just witnessed.
I made the decision to buy the documenta catalogue … not such a big deal unless you still have another 195km to ride from Kassel to Münster and very little panier space to spare … in order to read the curatorial essay and discover firsthand, so to speak, what exactly went into their decisions.
Unfortunately, this year’s documenta catalogue is without any curatorial essay. Only text included by the curator Ruth Novack is a short Preface co-signed with Director, and husband, Roger M. Buergel. They do refer in this preface, that this year’s installment is “an exhibition without form” … period. Not sure how that’s possible for an obviously, tightly curated exhibition. As for any reference to the artwork chosen they proclaim that “art is not without context; each work is attached to a local history.” How then, can they further state that an artwork can, “communicate itself and on its own terms” when it is butted up against and overlapping other works included in the exhibition. The works that seemed to stand out most for me were those I now realize had their own room in which to breathe and thus, allow the viewer to experience independently. Worst case scenario was in the Aue Pavilion. This awkward open-concept, temporary exhibition space didn’t provide much opportunity for contemplation … I kind of feel sorry for the artists whose work was placed there. And there were some beautiful works but they were certainly compromised by the claustrophobic structure of the installation.
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