Documenta 14

The Smallest Show in Kassel, Germany

Installation view of ‘Fragments from Nowhereland’ at the Kunsthochschule Kassel.

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As you may have heard, it can be rather difficult to figure out where and what the actual art is at some of Documenta’s 80 or so venues in Kassel and Athens because the maps and the signage are, well, not so great. Though this is a hard thing to judge, my vote for the most confusing venue goes to the Kunsthochschule Kassel, where pieces by David Harding, Gernot Minke, and ​Rainer Oldendorf range from somewhat hidden to extremely hidden.

However, while wandering the halls of the school during the Documenta preview days two weeks back, I had the pleasure of happening upon an art show that was mercifully easy to navigate. Because it was all installed in a box.

The exhibition, titled “Fragments from Nowhereland” (and not actually part of Documenta, to be clear), featured work by 20 artists, including luminaries like Yoko Ono, Thomas Schütte, and Jimmie Durham, all installed on two sides of a kind of bulletin board encased in a vitrine. It was “edited”—as opposed to curated—by Paolo Falcone, and was presented by Produzentengalerie Hamburg, Fondazione Sambuca Palermo, and Galerie Utopia Athens. Sadly, it ran for only two days.

Installation view of ‘Fragments from Nowhereland’ at the Kunsthochschule Kassel with works by, going clockwise from the upper-left corner, Henning Rogge, Lionel Estève, Olimpia Cavriani (partially visible), Yoko Ono, Bernhard Prinz (partially visible), Angela Bulloch, Jimmie Durham, and Günther Förg.

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As you can see in the installation shot above, the offerings included a quiet little Günther Förg painting from 2003, a stamp from Yoko Ono that reads “IMAGINE PEACE” (all the more poignant now that she’s being recognized as co-author of the classic song), a stick of deodorant from Durham, and a chewed-gum installation from Angela Bulloch. At a very diffuse Documenta, it was a rare moment of manageable art viewing. But there was Documenta hunting to be done. After a few minutes of standing in one place, examining the box, it was time to go hunting for that David Harding work.

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