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The documenta archiv to receive an important donation: The internationally unique performance art archive "Die Schwarze Lade / the Black Kit: Archive for Performance, Action and Intermedia Art" to be presented by documenta artist Boris Nieslony

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#7 The Work of Archives – Work on the Archive – lecture by Ursula Frohne und Marianne Wagner


documenta Institute Discourse #7


Tuesday, December 4, 2018, 7 pm


Venue: Auditorium of the Kunsthochschule Kassel, Menzelstraße 13-15


Admission free


Address of Welcome: Dr. Birgit Jooss


A collaboration with the documenta professor at the Kunsthochschule Kassel.

The archive’s connections to artistic and curatorial work are variegated and complex. While the idea of the archive, on the one hand, is informed and shaped by institutions dedicated to conservation, research, and exhibition, on the other hand, the term archive also indicates a site of subject-bound experience that conjures associations of a labyrinthine abundance. Within culture-theoretical discourse the archive stands not least for a form of political activism, while under the banner of “postproduction” it has become an integral part of artistic practices of collection and documentation; this can be observed, for example, in the Skulptur Projekte Münster’s reframing or reenactment of artworks, as with those of Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster (2007). In addition, since the 1990s, and in parallel to the rise in digital data production, an intensive engagement with the materiality and temporality of the archive has also developed.


In the face of this spectrum of meanings and readings, artistic practices draw upon the archive as a heterogeneous reservoir where processes of remembering, forgetting, displacement, oversight, and dismissal are made visible.


The museum as an institution takes on a special role in relation to the Skulptur Projekte: it secures its continuities and breaks and simultaneously enables a reconsideration of both the positioning and organizational form of each new edition of the exhibition, and of the perpetuity of the “Skulptur Projekte Archiv”. The specific situation in Münster allows both for the opening up of its archives through research, and for items from the archive to be exhibited and directly linked both to works from public collections on outside display, and to those works of the Skulptur Projekte that have made their way into the museum’s collection. Both of these approaches – research and exhibition – guarantee a diversity of forms of the public, question the meaning of the archive in different ways, and reflect the expectations and questions that can be addressed to an archive. The lecture explores the political demands of “working on an archive” as a process of recognition in the face of populist distortions of history and cultural memory.


Ursula Anna Frohne, a Professor for Art History at the University of Münster, was Professor for Art History of 20th and 21st Centuries Art at the University of Cologne between 2006 and 2015. She also taught as Visiting Professor at the Department of Modern Culture and Media, Brown University and was Professor of Art History at International University Bremen. Anticipating her academic career, she was curator at the ZKM | Center for Art and Media in Karlsruhe. In 1987 she worked as a research assistant and catalogue editor for documenta 8 in Kassel. Her publications focus on the sociology of the artist, contemporary art practice and technological media (photography, film, video, installation), political dimensions and socio-economic conditions of art and visual culture.


Marianne Wagner is curator of Contemporary Art at the LWL-Museum für Kunst und Kultur Münster/Westfälisches Landesmuseum since June 2015. In 2017 she curated the Skulptur Projekte Münster together with Kasper König and Britta Peters. As director of the Skupture Projekte’s archive, she initiated a research project conducted in cooperation with the University of Münster in early 2017 with the aim of developing the archive, with the project receiving three years’ funding from the Volkswagen Foundation. Alongside the conception and realization of exhibition projects, Marianne Wagner publishes on themes relating to artistic development since the 1960s, in particular around the areas of performance art, speech acts and knowledge mediation, sociology of art, and institution-critical artistic production. In 2014 she was awarded the “Joseph Beuys Research Prize” for her dissertation on the theme of “Lecture Performance. Speech Acts as Performance Art since 1950”.