Thursday, July 19, 2012


Three days at dOCUMENTA and of course I did not see everything. Main difference between this exhibition and the previous two I saw (in 2002 and 2007): while there is more work in this iteration (and certainly more of it in the Karlsaue) there is more room between things. Artistic Director Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev seems aware of this with the placement of Ryan Gander's "breeze" piece flowing through the bottom-left and -right rooms of the Fredericianum, at the centre of which is her own specific display: an exhibition-within-an-exhibition that she refers to as the "Brain."

Time is another theme that flows through the exhibition, from Adrian Villar Rojas's solid concrete bells under the Weinbergterrassen to the time it took him to make his flayed sculptures that wind their way towards them. Another concerns the increased level of sophistication in the integration of video and sculptural installation. While I am not a huge fan of William Kentridge, I am impressed with his piece at the Hauptbahnhof, which also contains a "breeze" (as breath). Clemens Von Wedemeyer's three-sided temporal monument earns its sculptural/video interface, while Gerard Byrne's does not. Willie Doherty's piece would have been better suited (given its content) in Omer Fast's hut in the Karlsaue, while Omer Fast's voluminous crowds would have benefitted from the space given to Doherty at the Hauptbahnhof (this might have happened had Doherty not been so insistent on when -- and when not --people could enter his screenings).

I could go on if I were not so exhausted. Suffice it to say, the pieces that resonate most for me are Mark Dion's cabinet at the Ottoneum, Pierre Huyghe's installation in the Karlsaue (a work that had me wondering if I was suddenly on the set of Tarkovsky's Stalker), Tino Sehgal's breathtaking song-and-dance extravaganza and Janet Cardiff & George Bures Miller's outdoor sonic sensorium, also in the Karlsaue. No doubt I will recall more as time passes, but in the meantime -- Morpheus!

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