Documenta 11

08 Jun - 15 Sep 2002

8 June - 15 September 2002

With his team of six co-curators from six different countries, artistic director Okwui Enwezor, the first not to have come from Europe, demonstrated an open-minded and truly international approach to the world for Documenta11. As envisaged in the original concept they invited artists to Kassel from countries that had never been represented there before, to make a unified international experience of the documenta as an exhibition of world art in a stage of global post-colonialism.
In terms of its content, time-scale and geographical dimensions Documenta11 was significantly broader in scope than any of its predecessors had been. Enwezor took the imbalance out of the art experience by holding the documenta in five different locations around the world. The exhibition at Kassel was the fifth of these 'platforms', as they were called; the other platforms that had preceded it represented venues for lectures and discussions that actively explored contemporary art-specific, political and social issues from a critical perspective. In this context the final exhibition platform supplemented and provided a reflection of the discursive platforms without in any way representing a merely illustrative approach to the theoretical discourse. The interplay between the different platforms demonstrated that aesthetic experience is an intellectual activity reliant on knowledge and the ability to discern. This notwithstanding, many of the artworks on show still proved accessible even without in-depth background knowledge through intuitive or reasoned observation – for example, Georges Adéagbo's assemblage L'explorateur et les explorateurs devant l'histoire de l'exploration...! Le théâtre du monde. The artist displayed images, signs, texts and other found material that related directly to the venue and the occasion, so creating a form for open encyclopaedic knowledge that questioned prevalent Western European dominated learning.

The result of this global and discursive analytical concept was a new record. 650,000 visitors came to appraise around 450 artworks on a surface area of 13,000 square metres at the largest documenta ever. The documenta was divided into parts that were shown at the Fridericianum, the Kulturbahnhof, the Orangerie and the Karlsaue, as it had been before. In addition, the Binding brewery was also added to these venues.

The question Enwezor posed behind the global orientation of the exhibition, "how contemporary art in all its different forms can continue to develop in a dialectic relationship to the entirety of global culture", was answered cautiously in the end. Taking into account the current political, technological and ideological conflicts, developments and mixtures, it proved an extremely "difficult and sensitive" undertaking. Consequently, in the end Enwezor left the public unclear about "contemporary art's prospects and its position in working on interpretational models for the different aspects of today's ideational worlds", although delivering a quantity of material for reflecting on the theme. Decisive was the taboo-break associated with the exhibition. Enwezor cast doubt on the claim to primacy of Western culture by shifting, even inverting, the centres of development and the references.

Artistic Director:
Okwui Enwezor

Georges Adéagbo
Ravi Agarwal
Eija-Liisa Ahtila
Chantal Akerman
Gaston André Ancelovici
Michael Ashkin
Asymptote Architecture
Kutlug Ataman
The Atlas Group (Walid Ra ́ad)
Julie Bargmann
Stacy Levy
Artur Barrio
Bernd + Hilla Becher
Zarina Bhimji
Black Audio Film Collective
John Bock
Ecke Bonk
Frédéric Bruly Bouabré
Louise Bourgeois
Pavel Braila
Stanley Brown
Tania Bruguera
Luis Camnitzer
James Coleman
Constant (Constant A. Nieuwenhuys)
Hanne Darboven
Destiny Deacon
Stan Douglas
Cecilia Edefalk
William Eggleston
Maria Eichhorn
Touhami Ennadre
Cerith Wyn Evans
Feng Mengbo
Chohreh Feyzdjou
Yona Friedman
Meschac Gaba
Giuseppe Gabellone
Carlos Garaicoa
Kendell Geers
Isa Genzken
Jef Geys
David Goldblatt
Leon Golub
Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster
Renée Green
Victor Grippo
Le Groupe Amos
Jens Haaning
Mona Hatoum
Thomas Hirschhorn
Candida Höfer
Craigie Horsfield
Huit Facettes: Dynamique Artistique & Culturelle
Pierre Huyghe
Igloolik Isuma Productions
Sanja Ivekovic
Alfredo Jaar
Joan Jonas
Isaac Julien
Amar Kanwar
On Kawara
William Kentridge
Johan van der Keuken
Bodys Isek Kingelez
Ben Kinmont
Igor Kopystiansky
Svetlana Kopystiansky
Ivan Kozaric
Andreja Kuluncic
Glenn Ligon
Ken Lum
Mark Manders
Fabián Marcaccio
Steve McQueen
Cildo Meireles
Jonas Mekas
Annette Messager
Ryuji Miyamoto
Santu Mofokeng
Juan Muñoz
Shirin Neshat
abriel Orozco
Muyiwa Osifuye
Ulrike Ottinger
Ouattara Watts
Park Fiction
Manfred Pernice
Raymond Pettibon
Adrian Piper
Lisl Ponger
Pere Portabella
Raqs Media Collective
Alejandra Riera
Doina Petrescu
Dieter Roth
Doris Salcedo
Seifollah Samadian
Gilles Saussier
Allan Sekula
Yinka Shonibare
Andreas Siekmann
Lorna Simpson
Eyal Sivan
David Small
Fiona Tan
Pascale Marthine Tayou
Jean-Marie Teno
Trinh T. Minh-ha
Joëlle Tuerlinckx
Luc Tuymans
Nomeda and Gediminas Urbonas
Jeff Wall
Nari Ward
Yang Fudong

Tags: Georges Adéagbo, Eija-Liisa Ahtila, Chantal Akerman, Michael Ashkin, Kutlug Ataman, Artur Barrio, Bernd & Hilla Becher, Zarina Bhimji, John Bock, Frédéric Bruly Bouabré, Louise Bourgeois, Pavel Braila, Tania Bruguera, Luis Camnitzer, James Coleman, Hanne Darboven, Destiny Deacon, Stan Douglas, Cecilia Edefalk, William Eggleston, Maria Eichhorn, Okwui Enwezor, Cerith Wyn Evans, Yona Friedman, Yang Fudong, Meschac Gaba, Giuseppe Gabellone, Carlos Garaicoa, Kendell Geers, Isa Genzken, Jef Geys, David Goldblatt, Leon Golub, Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, Renée Green, Victor Grippo, The Atlas Group, Jens Haaning, Mona Hatoum, Thomas Hirschhorn, Candida Höfer, Craigie Horsfield, Pierre Huyghe, Sanja Ivekovic, Alfredo Jaar, Joan Jonas, Isaac Julien, Amar Kanwar, On Kawara, William Kentridge, Johan van der Keuken, Bodys Isek Kingelez, Ben Kinmont, Igor and Svetlana Kopystiansky, Ivan Kozaric, Andreja Kuluncic, Glenn Ligon, Ken Lum, Mark Manders, Fabián Marcaccio, Steve McQueen, Cildo Meireles, Jonas Mekas, Feng Mengbo, Annette Messager, Ryuji Miyamoto, Santu Mofokeng, Juan Muñoz, Shirin Neshat, Ulrike Ottinger, Manfred Pernice, Raymond Pettibon, Adrian Piper, Lisl Ponger, Raqs Media Collective, Dieter Roth, Doris Salcedo, Allan Sekula, Yinka Shonibare, Andreas Siekmann, Lorna Simpson, DJ Simpson, Fiona Tan, Pascale Marthine Tayou, Joëlle Tuerlinckx, Luc Tuymans, Jeff Wall, Nari Ward, Ouattara Watts