Kassel Day 1

Having arrived in Kassel we spent an evening in the cosy environs of an outdoor courtyard housed within an artists community for young locals acting as a satellite to the four main galleries of Documenta 12.

After early nights all round we awoke refreshed and ready for another day of art and searing heat. We started the day in the Documenta Halle for a work by the artist Cosima Von Bonin comprising of a selection of her own work and that of others, the overall impression was that of disappointment, there was some good work but the display and concept left a lot to be desired.

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After a short ice cream break we wandered to the Museum von Fredericanium one of the larger galleries containing a huge amount of works of varying standards. Again the display was questionable throwing in works from the 17th century with works produced specifically for the show, giving the impression that the curator was playing games by drawing links through this diverse body of material. However there where a few standout works such as a video work by Hito Steyerl ‘Lovely Andrea’ which depicts the artists search for a 20 year old image of herself in a Japanese rope bondage magazine and discussing the idea of bondage to the job market.

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After this it was down to the Aue Pavilion, a specially constructed gallery showing the main body of the exhibition. At this point I may be sounding like a stuck record but variable work and odd display. There was a significant amount of painting in the pavilion and the consensus was that it was not of a particularly high standard. The one standout work was ‘Would you like to participate in an artistic experience’ by Ricardo Basbaum in this ongoing work the artist gives locals an art object and a set of instructions to take the object into there lives and document there actions. These pieces of documentation are then presented in the gallery within a sculptural environment featuring the ubiquitous cushions and mattresses of the relational artwork.
Courtesy: B. Fallon

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