"Acoustic art forms not as brainchilds but on and out breaking soul torment, rampant, willfully forced cacophony, a wildly wafting, slapping, screeching sequence of sounds and words, here and there combined with trivial themes of the hit song industry." This is how Thomas Wessel (n.b.) described the concert - on the VHS tape - in the HNA on June 21, 1982, that took place after the opening ceremony at documenta 7.


Carmen Knoebel (born 1944) was responsible for the musical kickoff of this documenta. The former manager of the famous Düsseldorf artists' pub "Ratinger Hof" also frequented regularly by Beuys (1921-1986) and Immendorff (1945-2007) brought eight bands onto the stage in the theatre hall - today's TIF - of the newly renovated Fridericianum.


While the "Neuen Wilden" exhibited upstairs, the new wild ones of the music filled the space with sound in front of an audience below. "Of course, you have to be very light" was the name of the event where a conglomerate of punk and new wave musicians played on June 20th, 1982. That it wasn’t easy to allocate financial means to the initially unscheduled event is documented in letters and petitions for financial support signed by the artistic director of documenta 7, Rudi Fuchs (born 1942) to various Kassel-based companies.


In the video the performance of the band "Einstürzende Neubauten" can be seen. They played a major role in shaping the new wave and punk movement in Germany in the early 1980s. Their front singer Blixa Bargeld (born 1959) became only a short time later guitarist in Nick Cave’s (born 1957) band "Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds". Just as the "Neue Wilden" wanted to free themselves from the top-heavy, over intellectualized art terms of previous years, the "Einstürzende Neubauten" and the music movement of punk and new wave freed themselves from conventional sound forms. For example, the "Einstürzende Neubauten" did not use drums, but scrap metal and various pipes with which sounds are produced.


The chosen video footage shows how the wall of the theatre hall in the Fridericianum is worked on by the band with a pneumatic hammer, while Bargeld sings the song "Negative No" and speaks to the audience. At that time the Fridericianum had just been completely renovated. The full video can be found in the VHS collection of the documenta archiv and shows an important part of the art exhibition that focused in 1982 on the "Neue Wilden" and other controversially discussed artists. You are welcome to visit us in our reading room and have a colleague from the media collections show you the clip.


Maximilian Preuss