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Records and Papers

Documenta Exhibition Records

© documenta archiv / Anita Back

The documenta archiv collects and preserves the original records of the respective documenta organizing teams. It contains exhibition related materials such as correspondence files, sketches, curatorial research memoranda, printed items and press materials, as well as national and international press reviews, regarding the preparation, execution and handling of each documenta exhibition.

The archival material of the documenta exhibitions 1 to 12 are catalogued in finding aids, summarized by topics, and are accessible – in compliance with archival, copyright and privacy laws – for research. They comprise of approximately 2.700 folders in 1070 boxes.

The archival material of documenta exhibitions 13 and 14 have yet to be catalogued. They comprise of 80 linear meters.

The documenta records comprise a total of approximately 320 linear metres.

© documenta archiv, Kassel

Arnold Bode: Organization Chart for documenta III, undated, Ink and Crayon on Paper, 20,9 x 29,5 cm, inventory number: docA, AA, d3, folder 97, 004

© documenta archiv / Anita Back
© documenta archiv, Kassel
© documenta archiv, Kassel

Finding Aids documenta 1 - 12

The finding aids for the first three documenta exhibitions can also be accessed via Arcinsys. The finding aids to documenta exhibitions 1 to 11 are available as PDF files: documenta 1, documenta 2, documenta 3, documenta 4, documenta 5, documenta 6, documenta 7, documenta 8, documenta 9, documenta 10, documenta 11, documenta 12.

 

Advice and Guidance

 

Collection of Press- and Printed Materials

© documenta archiv / Anita Back

Holdings comprise of an extensive collection of press clippings on artists of the 20th and 21st century worldwide, with a particular emphasis on participating artists of documenta exhibitions. Built up over decades, this comprehensive press collection is complimented by invitation cards and pamphlets on contemporary art. The press clippings and printed materials are sorted alphabetically by artist names. Together they provide an invaluable research base for cultural studies, its reception and art critical research over the past hundred years up to now, and recaptures historical events and trends that are often difficult to research. The entire collection comprises of over 500.000 press clippings, flyers and invitation cards of about 45.000 artists.

The Collection of Press- and Printed Materials comprise a total of approximately 240 linear metres.

© documenta archiv / Anita Back
© documenta archiv / Anita Back

Personal Papers

The documenta archiv also collects personal papers. At present, the archive holds the estate of Arnold Bode (1900-1977), founder of the documenta exhibitions and initiator of the documenta archiv. The estates of documenta artists Harry Kramer (1925-1997) and Hans Hillmann (1925-2014) as well as of the art critic Dirk Schwarze (1942-​2017) are also housed in the documenta archiv.

The Personal Papers comprise a total of approximately 20 linear metres.

 

The establishment of a center for curators’ estates is planned for the future.

© documenta archiv / Klaus Meier-Ude

Arnold Bode

In the year after his death, the documenta archiv took over the curatorial estate of Arnold Bode (1900-1977), the founder and initiator of the documenta archiv. The collection includes manuscripts, conceptual papers, diaries, photographs, catalogs, documents and awards, plus furniture, paintings, drawings, prints and sketches made by Bode himself. The collection of art works also includes early examples from the twenties, whereas the curatorial materials focus on the sixties and seventies of the 20th century.

© documenta archiv / Ryszard Kasiewicz
© documenta archiv / Ryszard Kasiewicz
© documenta archiv / Anita Back
© documenta archiv / Anita Back
© documenta archiv / Erich Fäse

Harry Kramer

The artist Harry Kramer (1925-1997) was a participant of documenta 3, professor for sculpture at the Kassel School of Arts, and founder of the artist-necropolis in Habichtswald, a nearby forest of Kassel. His estate was entrusted to the documenta archiv in 2006 by his widow, Helga Kramer. With her help, two rooms were set up in nearby Aschrotthaus, where the artist’s estate and works are presented in an atelier-like setting. The extensive estate which includes personal objects, original art works and archival materials of his artistic production and teaching activities can also be viewed upon prior request. The studio is open to visitors by appointment only.

Audiotour Nekropole

© documenta archiv / Ryszard Kasiewicz
© documenta archiv / Martina Dellmann
© documenta archiv / Ryszard Kasiewicz
© documenta archiv / Nachlass Hans Hillmann

Hans Hillmann

Graphic artist and designer, Hans Georg Hillmann (1925-2014), is hailed as one of the founders of the modern German film poster, and worked as an illustrator for numerous magazines and publishers. His works were exhibited in 1964, within the section "Design and Graphic Art" of documenta 3. In 2015 his widow bequeathed his personal papers to the documenta archiv. Its holdings include 43 archive boxes filled with archival materials, including diaries and photographs, 7 drawers of posters, drawings and drafts, some 900 publications and a large collection of 35 mm slides.

© documenta archiv / Hans Hillmann
© documenta archiv / Hans Hillmann
© documenta archiv / Hans Hillmann
© documenta archiv / Nachlass Dirk Schwarze

Dirk Schwarze

In April 2018, the documenta archiv acquired parts of the library and the personal papers by the art critic Dirk Schwarze (1942-2017). The cultural director of the Hessische/Niedersächsische Allgemeine newspaper of many years was an important figure in Kassel's cultural scene. He began his journalistic career at the Rheinische Post in Düsseldorf. Since 1972 he has followed and commented on documenta. His estate contains a comprehensive collection of his press articles not only on documenta and individual artists, but also on the entire art scene in Kassel and the region as well as on international exhibitions. Preparatory documents, notes, printed matter and correspondence round off the collection and paint a picture of Dirk Schwarze's diverse work and commitment.