Not long ago five diaries on the subject of documenta 9, 11 and 12 were given to the documenta archiv. Klaus Röhring (born 1941) long-standing councilor of the Evangelical Church of Kurhessen-Waldeck and now retired, used the various documenta exhibitions also as a source of inspiration for his sermons. He recorded his experiences and impressions in the “diaries of 100 days”. Röhring’s ideas and associations were enriched by excerpts from the exhibition catalogues or from other publications such as encyclopedias etc.


The diary of documenta 12 is shown here as an example. The art enthusiast Klaus Röhring begins with a quotation by Novalis: “We seek everywhere the unconditioned and find only things”. At the beginning of the diary Röhring lists four keys and approaches on how to read the exhibition:


1. The Mirror (Museum Fridericianum): Klaus Röhring refers to the artistic work "Untitled" (2007) by John McCracken and reads from it an invitation to reflect.

2. The Carpet (documenta Halle): For him the focus is on the "Garden Carpet" (around 1800) by an anonymous artist and invites to interweave.

3. The Ashes (Neue Galerie): He associates with the work “Collateral” (2007) by Sheela Gowda the call to remember.

4. The Human Being (Aue-Pavilion): The work “Goethe” (1976/2007) by Andrei Monastyrski, Röhring takes it as a stimulation to change or to press the button, to also participate.


In his diary Klaus Röhring connects the “Garden Carpet” with an article from an encyclopedia on the theme of paradise, an excerpt from Clement of Alexandria (150 - 215) explanations on garden carpets and a poem by the German poet Agnes Miegel (1879-1964). Copies of these were glued into the diary alongside his notes: “Carpets are transportable, readily accessible places. During the winter time they bring the garden inside the house. Representation of an inner garden of an emperor seen from a bird’s eye perspective; symmetric arrangements of the areas, structured by an irrigation system. Square, rectangle, diamond shapes. The carpet has five centers. The garden carpet as a metaphor for paradise: imago mundi”. For him, the garden carpet represents the curatorial method and a possible reading of documenta 12.


In the preface of the catalog of documenta 12, Roger M. Buergel and Ruth Noack point out the formlessness of the exhibition: "However, exhibitions are only worth looking at if we manage to dispense with preordained categories and arrive at a plateau where art communicates itself and on its own terms.”


In this sense, Röhring enhances the interpretation of documenta 12 with his religious-philosophical approaches: he comes up with his own terms that can be traced in his diaries at the documenta archiv by appointment.


Berlind Schneider