Fists flew more than once during the documenta: not only metaphorically, but also literally: as early as 1972, Joseph Beuys and Abraham David Christian faced each other with gloves in the ring. The "Boxing Match for Direct Democracy" was fought out in the Fridericianum amidst written banners with slogans by the conceptualist Ben Vautier. Winner on points: Joseph Beuys. The referee was documenta artist Anathol Herzfeld - a traffic policeman in his civilian life.

Twenty years later, "jazz, baseball and boxing" were the central slogans of curatorial director Jan Hoet: For him, the boxing match was not a "metaphor for art but for life," and so an international boxing match evening - professional boxing, mind you - was part of the official supporting program of his DOCUMENTA IX. Among them: Axel Schulz (D), Samson Cohen (USA), Alexander "The Great" Miroschnichenko (CIS) and the later audience favorite and ratings guarantee "Gentleman" Henry Maske (D).

"In a certain sense, boxing is like art: you have to be able to distinguish authenticity from pose with a hair's breadth, feel where authenticity ends and calculation begins." (Jan Hoet)

A part of the entrance fees for DOCUMENTA IX BOXING now unexpectedly came to light during indexing work on the holdings of the d9 (shelfmark: docA, AA, d09, 175).


Once again, the documenta archive proves to be a unique source for the history of art and exhibitions. And in this case also as a treasure trove of special treasures. Not only in the scientific sense.


By the way: Henry Maske won the fight against Samson Cohen clearly: KO in the 6th round.