Documenta and Projekte Münster

July 7, 2017

The European art scene has a lot to offer this season, with international art exhibitions including Art Basel in Basel, Switzerland coming to a close on June 18th and the 57th Venice Biennale on view through November 26, 2017.  Adding to the bustling scene are renowned art exhibitions Documenta in Kassel, Germany and Athens, Greece, as well as Projekte Münster in Münster Germany. Read below for highlights from the two shows:

Documenta is held every 5 years, and dates back to 1955 when the Kassel painter and professor Arnold Bode hoped to reintroduce Germany to the international art scene through an exhibition of twentieth century art.  For this first time this year’s Artistic Director, Adam Szymczyk, proposed a twofold structure for the exhibition, with locations in both Kassel and Athens.

Documenta 2017, aptly named “Learning from Athens” asked participating artists to produce works that confront the emerging relationship between the two cities. Our favorite installation from Documenta 2017 is Marta Minujin’s The Parthenon of Books in Kassel. The installation, which takes the shape of the Parthenon in Athens, is composed of 100,000 banned books from around the world and is located on Friedrichsplatz, where over two thousand books were burned during “Aktion wider den undeuthschen Geist,” translating to “Campaign against the Un-German Spirit.”

Parthenon of Books (2012-13), an installation by artist Marta Minujin, is composed of steel, banned books and plastic, and is one view at Documenta in Kassel, Germany. Image courtesy of Frieze.

Skulpture Projekte Münster was established in 1977 and takes place every ten years. The exhibition examines the ambivalent relationship between the public sector and sculpture, commissioning works that respond to their physical and social environments. A highlight is French artist Pierre Huyghe’s After Alife Ahead (2017) set in an abandoned, decaying ice rink and brimming with life including  swarming bees, flies, roaming peacocks and multiplying cancer cells.  The installation is one of the most ambitious projects undertaken at Skulpture Projekte Münster.

After Alife Ahead (2017), a sculpture by artist Pierre Huyghe, is one of the most ambitious installations at Skulpture Projekte Münster. Image courtesy of the ARTnews.