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The documenta archiv was founded in 1961 and consists of comprehensive records of the documenta exhibitions. A scientific research library, extensive press, image and audiovisual collections form part of its holdings. Personal papers complete our collection.

documenta archiv

Untere Karlsstr. 4, 34117 Kassel
Phone +49 56170727-3100
e-mail archiv@documenta.de

Opening Hours Reading Room:
Tuesday: 9.00 am til 7.00 pm, from Wednesday to Friday: 9.00 am til 4.00 pm
The documenta archiv is closed for the public until February 15, 2021.

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The documenta Institute


The long-standing idea of expanding the documenta archive into an independent research institute is set for realization with the approval of €12 million by the budgetary committee of the Bundestag 2016. Supported by the Federal Government, the state of Hesse, the city of Kassel, documenta gGmbH and the University of Kassel, the institute will inspire, conduct, and further develop documenta-related research, and ultimately achieving international excellence. The heart of the institute is the documenta archiv and its collection of written, visual, and digital documents. It contributes to the intellectual life of the institute and opens itself to the public with a library, internet projects, an exhibition area, and an event space.


The second pillar of the institute is research. In addition to the documenta professorship, which considers the format of the documenta from the perspective of art history, and whose research is an important contribution to the overall concept of the institute, three lines of inquiry stemming from the social sciences, the humanities, and the investigation into questions of aesthetics will be established. It is devoted to processes of artistic and curatorial production, the public reception of art and its dissemination in society.


Through its location, architectural appearance, and its staffing, the documenta Institute is intended as an international research and meeting space in an urban social context, which remains present for the public in the periods between the exhibitions of the documenta.

The Infrastructure

Since January 2016 the documenta archiv is affiliated to the documenta und Museum Fridericianum gGmbH in preparation for the documenta Institute.

Press Conference, Handover documenta archiv, July 15, 2015

Since April 2017 the new documenta professorship at the Kunsthochschule Kassel is Prof. Dr. Nora Sternfeld, who has begun her work in January 2018.

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In April 2018, the State of Hesse is aiming to establish three more professorships for the University of Kassel.

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The professorships were announced in December 2018.

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In August 2020 Prof. Heinz Bude was appointed Founding Director of the documenta Institute.

The State of Hesse, the City of Kassel, Kassel University with Kunsthochschule Kassel and documenta und Museum Fridericianum gGmbH have appointed the acclaimed sociologist Prof. Dr. Heinz Bude as Founding Director of the documenta Institute. Bude’s first tasks include formulating a concrete program and developing the internal and external organizational structures of the documenta Institute.

Prof. Dr. Heinz Bude emphasized at his introduction presentation in Kassel: “The unique opportunity for the documenta Institute is that it views documenta as a model for the exhibition of contemporary art and thus addresses the global social phenomenon of the biennialization of the art field. The interplay between archive, research and urban social participation will create a laboratory for research into contemporaneity through the presentation of contemporary art.” Further information



In preparation for the documenta Institute there are already numerous initiatives and events for the interested public:


In November 2017 a series of events entitled "documenta Institute Discourse" was launched. It is a cooperation between the documenta archiv and the documenta professorship.

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Since October 2018 the web platform "documenta studies" is online. It was conceived and organized by the team of the documenta professorship.

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In November 2018 the conference "Archiving the Unarchivable" took place in preparation for the documenta Institute. It was conceived and organized by the documenta archiv.

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The New Building

Since October 2018 the financing of a new building for the documenta Institute has been secured. The building is to cover an area of around 6,500 square meters. The total costs of the construction project amount to € 24 million. The building constructor is the city of Kassel, which is also offering the current parking lot at Holländischer Platz or at the Karlsplatz as land for the building project. The invitation to tender for an architectural competition is being planned.

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