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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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Never been modern? Bauhaus and documenta in true affinity


Collage by TheGreenEyl using the photographs of:
Wilhelm Wagenfeld, Bauhaus-Leuchte, metal version, Bauhaus Weimar, 1924, © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2019; Haus-Rucker-Co, Oase Nr. 7, documenta 5, 1972. © Günther Zamp Kelp, Manfred Ortner, VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2019 (for Klaus Pinter); Photo: Carl Eberth © documenta archiv.

The symposium deals with the implicit narratives of modernity of Bauhaus and the documenta exhibitions. At first, the original constellation in Weimar and Kassel will be captured, then, the metamorphoses in passing through New Delhi, St. Lucia, Lagos (all documenta 11), Kabul (documenta 13) or Athens (documenta 14) will be explored. Where do the two interwoven narratives come from, which afflictions have they suffered, with which others have they connected, and which threads have emerged from them?

So first of all, it is a matter of putting two aesthetic concepts of modernity – and between them the totalitarian modernity of National Socialism - in relation to each other. Bauhaus is perceived as the project of a preceding and documenta as the project of a catching up modernity. The concept of modernity here refers to a modernity of world improvement that has always been related to a project based on the philosophy of history. Bauhaus is about creating an egalitarian and at the same time collectively binding world and the documenta exhibitions are about reconnecting with a modern concept of society characterized by functional differentiation and, at the same time, value generalization.


Then, the extension of the west-east constellation by the north-south constellation is to be realized. Which themes, which ways of thinking, which actors did it create? The social has been questioned by the spiritual, the economic by the genealogical, the political by the geological and the human by the animalistic, the material by the botanical and the global by the terrestrial.


The expanded constellation places the constellation of the beginning in a new and different light. What was the unthought, the unacknowledged, and the unshown at that time? And the question that runs through the whole symposium is, of course, whether the process that is now coming to our attention is to be understood as an evaporation, transposition or completion of the modern style.


The speakers are Beatrice von Bismarck, Alexander Garcia Düttmann, Thomas Flierl, Eckhart Gillen, Walter Grasskamp, Astrid Mania, Sophia Prinz, Cord Riechelmann, Winfried Speitkamp and Nina Tessa Zahner.


A detailed information sheet including the schedule for the symposium can be downloaded here.


Venue: Kunsthochschule Kassel


Concept: Heinz Bude, Professor for macrosociology, Universität Kassel


Organisation: Michael Flörchinger


The symposium is part of the project "bauhaus | documenta"