# 11: Athens: some afterthoughts about Documenta 14

May 29 2017

Learning from Athens is the subtitle of  Documenta 14 in Athens. The context of this vast city with its enormous history as a context to the art that is shown in the different venues definitely adds to its impact. Greece is still in economic problems and the number of refugees that are stuck in this country do not help to stabilize the country. For years I hear that young Greeks want to leave the country, but they don’t have the money. They can not migrate, even though Greece is part of the EU.
This tension is the atmosphere in which Documenta 14 is installed. A lot of the art is about migration, oral history is a major technique with which migration is being presented. Personal stories on video, with talking heads, which force you to listen to the stories instead of looking for images.

Raphaël, Yervan Ganikian’s father survived the Armenian genocide in Eastern Turkey in 1915. In 1988, while living in Venice, he sat for his sons camera and he read an excerpt from his memoirs, translated from Armenina into Italian.

You can see a lot of video in general, Video is time based art and a lot more of that can be experienced.  Under the title Body of languages continuing performances are brought in different spaces in the city. Music, art-performance, theatre, lectures and multi-disciplinary happenings are a way to engage the audience and to communicate with them directly.
Older ways of communication are featured, at times I had the impression old languages, old ways of living and other mores are re-evaluated. Also political history is shown as a reason for migration.

Hiwa K:Pre-Image (Blind as the Mother Tongue) – 2017

In all this, I was touched most by art-works that found an effective visual language for telling the story that the artist wanted to tell. The beautiful video in the conservatoire and the sculpture in the inner square in the Benaki of Hiwa K, The Graphic installation of Rosee Rosen in the Benaki, the Thai singer in Aarin Rungian’s video in the ASAF, the installation of  Nikhil Chopra and a lot more made me think this Documenta is worthwhile. My initial scepsis changed in real considerations to maybe visit the Documanta in Kassel also!

Documenta 14

#9: Athens – Ancient Agora – Documenta 14@Athens Conservatoire once more

May 27, 2017

This day we decided to visit the ancient Agora, a public place where the ancient Greeks came together. The Agora is situated in front of the Acropolis on which it shows a magnificent view. In the restored Stoa of Attalos you can find a museum with sculptures and archeological findings from the terrain.
After a simple lunch we decided to visit the Athens Conservatoire once more for those who didin’t visit it yet. I appeared to have missed part of the Documenta exhibition there so for me too it was worth while. After that we were to have dinner with our German friends near there, but alas, that didn’t work out.

View on the Acropolis from the Ancient Agora

Triton at the entrance of the Palace of the giants, a gymnasium ( A.D. 410-530) which was built after the Odeion of Agrippa (15 B.C.) was destroyed by fire in the Herulian invasion. This Triton, as the other three that are still te be seen, remains from the Odeion.

The temple of Hephaistos from a distance. This temple is told to be the best kept antique temple on Greek soil.

My wife was able to join me the last couple of days. After having heard so many stories about Athens the past three years she wanted to see for herself again!

The headless Roman emperor  Hadrian

View on the Stoa of Attalos (159 – 138 B.C.) from a distance. This Stoa was built by Attalos II, king of Pergamon for the Athenians to meet, walk and do business. The Heruli destroyed it and in the fifties of the last century it was restored.

View on the inside of the Temple of Hephaistos

View over the length on the inside

View from the north

Metope from the side of the temple

Frontal view on the temple of hephaistos

This is what is left of the Middle Stoa (180-140 B.C.)

View on the restored Stoa of Attalos

Figurines of theatrical personae

Theatrical masks

Plan of the Agora at its fullest development in 2nd century A.D.

Athens Conservatoire


Nevin Aladagh: Music Room with funiture, housewares, musical instrument components and performances. At this moment a musical performance was being held with furniture instruments

Sedja Hémon, a rediscovered artist from Den Haag

Sedja Hémon

Sedja Hémon

Edi Hila

Edi Hila

Elisabeth Wild: Fantasia

Anna Davcíkova: on Allomorphing – 2017

Daniël Knorr: Book press

On this press dummies would be pressed

with stuff from the streets between its pages

The Ancient Agora

Documenta 14