50 Years Documenta 1955-2005


On the occasion of the 50th anniversary, the Kunsthalle Fridericianum is staging a major jubilee exhibition on the multifaceted history of the documenta. The exhibition 50 Jahre / Years documenta 1955 – 2005, curated by Michael Glasmeier, addresses this sometimes contradictory and erratic history from a present-day perspective, choosing a range of approaches and materials. In an endeavour to present as many aspects as possible, the exhibition is divided into five intersecting and complementary sections: an archival chapter, an art history chapter, a site-specific chapter, a film chapter, and a scholarly chapter. It is not a recollective exhibition. It is about dealing productively with an institution that has the task of reflecting each current present.

From the abundance of material available in the documenta Archive of the City of Kassel, a selection has been made for the chapter archive in motion, casting light on historical knowledge about past documenta-exhibitions, presented in eleven separate "chambers". To stress the living nature of the archive, this selection is backed by works of contemporary artists, offering a broader view of history and demonstrating a creative approach to the archive.


William Engelen | Friederike Feldmann | Sabine Groé | Katrin von Maltzahn | Katharina Meldner | Jonathan Monk | Tilo Schulz | Andreas Seltzer Heike Vogler | Heidi Specker | Alexander Roob | Kai Vöckler

The chapter Discreet Energies does not focus on well-known exhibition highlights: for this section, discreet works that sometimes run contrary to the course of art history are being brought back to Kassel. The selected works by more than 90 international artists are discreet because they do not obtrude or embody scandals, because they are too poetic or anarchic. In this setting – away from the major exhibition of the documenta – they become the subject of a new discussion.

documenta-works by…

Eija-Liisa Ahtila | Giovanni Anselmo | Ida Applebroog | Art & Language | Jo Baer | Thomas Bayrle | Samuel Beckett | Joseph Beuys | Zarina Bhimji | Guillaume Bijl | Julius Bissier | Bernhard Johannes Blume | Christian Boltanski | George Brecht | Marcel Broodthaers | John Cage | Luis Camnitzer | Robert Capa | Lawrence Carroll | Christo | Lygia Clark | William Copley | Marcel Duchamp | Ed Emshwiller | Walker Evans | Jean Fautrier | Robert Filliou | Fischli & Weiss | Lucio Fontana | Terry Fox | Malcolm Goldstein | Rodney Graham | Johan Grimonprez | Ulrike Grossarth | Hans Haacke | Richard Hamilton | Peter Handke | Karl Hartung | Werner Heldt | Pierre Henry | Ernst Hermanns | David Hockney | Mauricio Kagel | R. B. Kitaj | Pierre Klossowski | Alison Knowles | Ferdinand Kriwet | Wilhelm Lehmbruck | George Maciunas | Piero Manzoni | Agnes Martin | Gordon Matta-Clark | Henri Michaux | Paula Modersohn-Becker | Malcolm Morley | Bruce Nauman | Claes Oldenburg | Nam June Paik | Pier Paolo Pasolini | Markus Raetz | Gerhard Richter | Dieter Roth | Ed Ruscha | Reiner Ruthenbeck | Rob Scholte | Jan Schoonhoven | Seth Siegelaub | Robert Smithson | Nancy Spero | Mark Tansey | Paul Thek | Andr’ Thomkins | Mark Tobey | Heinz Trökes | Hans Uhlmann | Ed van der Elsken | Maria Helena Vieira da Silva | Weegee | William Wegman | Fritz Winter | Krzyzstof Wodiczko | Adolf Wölfli | Wols

The exhibition will be accompanied by a two-volume catalogue published by Steidl Verlag. German/English edition. Price: €38. ISDN 3-86521-146-1

50 Jahre / Years documenta 1955 – 2005 is being staged by the Kunsthalle Fridericianum, Kassel. The organisers are the documenta and the Museum Fridericianum Veranstaltungs-GmbH, the documenta Archive of the City of Kassel, and the Institute for Foreign Cultural Relations (ifa), Stuttgart. Funded by the German Federal Cultural Foundation, Halle.
Patronage: Federal President Horst Köhler.

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