60 Years of documenta

Symposium and concert

Logo 60 Jahre documenta

Founded by Arnold Bode, the documenta opened in Kassel for the first time on July 15, 1955, and thirteen editions of the documenta have been presented since then. Preparations for the documenta 14 are currently in progress, and the exhibition is scheduled to open in Kassel and Athens in 2017. The 60th anniversary of the documenta, which is now regarded as the most important exhibition of contemporary art in the world, was celebrated with an impressive programme of accompanying events of which the German Federal Cultural Foundation funded a symposium and concert.

Symposium – documenta 1997-2017: erweiterte Denkkollektive / expanding thought-collectives

The notion of what a documenta exhibition can be and what it should accomplish has changed considerably over the past twenty years. Art exhibitions have evolved into a global format that aims not only to present art, but also to communicate the most recent theories and conceptual models to an increasingly international public. This development and the questions and issues it raises were the focus of attention during the two-day symposium. They were discussed by the artistic directors of the past four documenta exhibitions and the artistic director of the upcoming documenta 14 in dialogue with international guests from the fields of art, science and theory. What were the underlying theoretical concepts for the last four documenta exhibitions, and how are they assessed today? How do these exhibitions realise their global orientation? What new ideas about the world do they convey? Subsequent to the public symposium a workshop for students at German universities was held at the School of Art and Design Kassel

Conceived by Dorothea von Hantelmann, documenta visiting professor at the School of Art and Design Kassel

An event by the German Federal Cultural Foundation in cooperation with the School of Art and Design Kassel

Contributors include: Catherine David, Okwui Enwezor, Roger M. Buergel and Ruth Noack, Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, Adam Szymczyk

Concert – M.A. Numminen and defunensemble: Verliebte Philosophen

In conjunction with the documenta anniversary celebration, the cantata entitled "Verliebte Philosophen" by the Finnish artist, composer, and singer M.A. Numminen was presented for the first time in Germany in a new, augmented arrangement. Numminen, well-known since the 1960s for his eclectic interests in such fields as philosophy, sociology, and linguistics as well as various musical styles, including jazz, classical and electronic music, tango, and new music, participated in dOCUMENTA (13). He previously presented a philosophically inspired music programme under the title "Wittgenstein Compositions" in collaboration with defunensemble in Kassel in 2012.
Composed in 2010, his "Verliebte Philosophen" forges yet another link between music and philosophy. The work deals with the complicated relationship between Hannah Arendt and Martin Heidegger. Major passages in the libretto were compiled from correspondence between Arendt (Ida Wallén, soprano) and Heidegger (Herman Wallén, baritone). M.A. Numminen serves as the narrator who embeds excerpts from letters relating to the couple’s first meeting in Marburg in 1925, Hannah Arendt’s emigration from Germany, Martin Heidegger’s admission to membership in the NSDAP in 1933, and their reunion after the war in a temporal framework. The music itself tracks the ups and downs of their relationship.

An event by the German Federal Cultural Foundation in cooperation with the documenta Archive, with the kind support of the Kulturhaus Dock 4 under the auspices of the City of Kassel

The complete programme

A complete list of events for "60 Years of documenta" can be found here:

www.documenta60.de (external link, opens in a new window)


Wilson Borles
Harriet Lesch & Peter Boragno

Mariannenplatz 2

10997 Berlin

Tel.: +49 (0)30 40 50 5985


www.wilsonborles.de (external link, opens in a new window)