While the provenance of the docArt of the month February was clear from the beginning, the origin of "rara-Box" no. 2 is not documented. However, it is possible to draw conclusions as to how it might have come to the documenta archiv. Hidden under the signature docA_Bib_7(rara)Paolini, G. 2 1977 is a white box, laid out in portrait format, on which the following can be read: "[...] Art defines art. In this general sense, art always and inevitably deals with itself. Giulio Paolini is one of those artists who, in particular and expressis verbis, define art through art, who have taken art as the subject of their art. His style is not shape-formal but thinking-formal. As such, it continuously pervades his work and makes each work recognizable as his own. Paolini thinks and proceeds dialectically. Thesis, antithesis: he omits the synthesis like the poetic comparison omits the tertium comparationis. [...] My text is - as agreed with Paolini - printed on the surrounding cover. [...]." Johannes Cladders. Paolini had conceived the cassette on the occasion of a monographic exhibition "GIULIO PAOLINI" (1977) at the Städtisches Museum Mönchengladbach, which was accompanied by Cladders. It contains 16 black and white facsimile photographs of the exhibited works. This particular catalog is edited to 550 copies. The box we have is no. 31.

The director of the Municipal Art Museum in Mönchengladbach, Johannes Cladders, was part of the curatorial team of documenta 5 (1972) under the direction of Harald Szeemann. He was responsible for the department "Individual Mythologies". It seems reasonable to assume that the box came into the documenta archiv's holdings via Cladders himself. The list of artists [1] at documenta 5 attests to the fact that Giulio Paolini was represented with several works in the department curated by Cladders - the prelude to a regular participation in documenta, with the exception of documenta 8, most recently in 1992 under Jan Hoet.

Why did the box become a patient of the restoration department? Damage to the box in the past, such as the torn corners of the stapled lid, had only been "repaired" provisionally with plastic tape, and the damaged lid itself had also been strengthened provisionally by means of gluing. The plasticizers contained in the sticky remains lead to browning, and later to embrittlement of the paper, resulting in loss of substance. Such damage occurs more frequently in archives and libraries.

The old tape and the adhesive remainings must carefully be removed. Using a heating spatula, as shown in the illustration, the strip still adhering is dissolved and simultaneously removed with the tweezers. The cooled traces of adhesive are finally removed with a latex eraser or with a cotton swab soaked in ethyl acetate, without affecting the dyes in the print! Then the tears and separations in the cardboard can be stabilized and closed with wheat starch and Japan paper. From a conservation point of view, no further stapling is required, as metal poses a potential risk of rusting.

Arlett Sauermann


[1] https://www.documenta.de/en/retrospective/documenta_5#