# 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!

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#6: Athens – Documenta 14@Benaki Museum Pireos street

May 24, 2017

Today EX-MÊKH’s fans from Holland arrived at the fair. We took the opportunity in the morning to visit another Documenta site and after the fair Artemis had arranged for everybody in the fair to have drinks and a meal together in Petralona, a busy neighbourhood with lots of bars and restaurants.
So in the morning we went to the Benaki annexe in Pireos street, another beautiful new building that normally houses modern Greek art. Now, Documenta occupies the ground floor with, to my opinion, the best part of Documenta in Athens.

The Benaki Museum Pireos Street Annexe

Hiwa K: One Room Appartment – 2017

Roee Rosen: Live and Die as Eva Braun – 1995-1997

A series of beautiful graphic art, drowned in German culture

The banners in the room show a monologue of Eva Braun and her love for Adolf Hitler

and how they commit suicide together

A great work of art, from collections in Israél

Nilima Sheikh has a number of painted canvases hanging from the ceiling under the title: “Each night put Kashmir in your dreams” – 2003-2014

On the back classical Hindu texts are printed

In the space it looks impressive

Aarin Rungjan: And then there were none, (Tomorrow we will become Thailand) – 2016 In this video a classical singer elegantly sings of horrible things, accompanied by a beautiful istrument of bamboe sticks

In the video and the accompanying paintings the artist juxtaposes two events: the Thammasat university Uprising in 1973 and the Polytechnic university uprising in Athens in 1973 Oral history in the video’s witness the happenings of the time.

Return to Khodurciur, Armenian Diary – 1974 Again Oral history about the happenings in Armenia: the father reads his diary from that time.

Congolese history by Tshimumba Kanda Matulu

It is a room filled with Congolese history, from the beginning until now

El Hadji Sy: la nouvelle Muséologie

André Pierre: Grand Bois

Myriam Cahn: ertasted (e.-arb)(touched – may 16, 1992)

R.H. Quaitman: Parthian Shot

R.H. Quaitman: Parthian Shot

Myriam Cahn

Myriam Kahn

Back on the fair we had a quick look at our work

and Geeta Rooparine came by with presents. She liked my textile texts, I got some beautiful silk threads from her and she showed me what she made of them!

KRAATZ changed their booth again, and this time their collaborators Stéphan Guéneau and Louise Crawford had arrived and immediately they added new work: a textwork

and these pictures (with the & from Isolde Nagel)

The pictures close up

And today again we couldn’t complain about the visitors

I took another round in the cellars, here with the VSVSVS

and the 24 hours project, completely different again!

At night we had a great dinner, because the next day would be the last day of the fair

Constantinos is very sure about something!

The Extra Muros crew rocks!

Shooting back at Artemis

Der Deutsch-Holländischer Tisch

And once more shooting back at Guillaume

Documenta 14

#5: Athens – Documenta 14@ASFA – EMST

May 23, 2017

Today Platforms opened late, so we had a chance to visit Documenta again. First we headed for ASFA, The Athens School of Fine Arts, a beautiful space I visited before during Art Athina. Near ASFA we could also find some other small places with art from Documenta. After that I decided to go to EMST, the new Museum of Contemporary Art, a venue I had wanted to visit for some years. It had once been the FIX-brewery, well known Greek beer had been brewn here. After demolishing half of the building for a new subway-station, what remained was turned into a museum building which was left unused for some time, untill Documenta wanted to make use of it. The building is beautiful and it has nice spaces. It makes me think of the new SF-MOMA, the way the stairway goes up on the side of the building and by the way the facade is put up. I do think the routing is not very clear though, especially in case of a continuïng exhibition like the one I visited now.

Billboard on the way to ASFA

In a house on the way we found a project by Olabong Nkanga, a soap factory named Carved to Flow.

Natural Soap was presented here, this is manufactured with charcoal, water and natural fats like oil and butter from al over the Mediterranian and Africa

Laboratory stuff and a stamp for large pieces

In the house next door a subtle installation was made by Nikhil Chopra. During a performance of three days he made a wall drawing and a number of little artifacts. After this he set of for a road trip through Eastern Europe in the direction of Kassel. On the way he will do performances, public drawings and collaborative events.

The little clay models are moving

and the open sea in clay on the wall is rather overwhelming!

Anna Davcikova: Along the Axis of Affinity, a video installation showing the deveopment of abstract design next to East European building

Anna and Lawrence Halprin: Photographs of the Sea ranch and Driftwood City Workshops 1962-1971


Lawrence Halprin in interview

Bonita Ely: Plasticus Progressus – Memento Mori – 2017

Artur Zmijewski – Glimpse 2016-2017 A rather confronting video about the refugees in Calais ending up in paris underneath the metro. The director tries to have them integrated by teaching them to wipe the streets with a broom or by having them painting their faces white.

Olaf Holzapfel: Zaun -abstract work with natural materials, like cane or in this case straw. These are normally beïng used for fences or other useful things

Bouchra Khalili: The Tempest Society – talking heads telling about experiences in a strange land with beautiful music in between

Maria Magdalena Campus Pons and Neil Leonard: Matanzas Soundmap

A beautiful installation with efficiënt use of materials


Maria Eichhorn: Buiding as unowned property – conversion of a buiding’s legal status, legal studies, documents, building and lot at Stavropoulou 15, 11252 Athene

Acknowledgement Documenta 14

Lois Weinberger: Debris Field – 2010-2016 – Objects excavated from the Weinberger Family farmhouse in Austria, photographs, sculptures, works on paper


Forough Farokhzad: The House is Black – 1963 Beautiful movie set in a leper colony in the north of Iran, The House is Black juxtaposes “ugliness”, of which there is much in the world as stated in the opening scenes, with religion and gratitude

Stanley Whitney: James Brown Sacrifice to Apollo – 2008

Ernest Mancoba: Untitled – n.d.

Maria Lai: Lenzuolo – 1981

Moyra Davey: Portrait/Landscape – 2017

idem – detail

Kvai Samnang: Preah Konlung – 2017 (eleven masks of woven vines)

Vilja Celmins: untitled

Cecilia Vicuña: Quipu Womb (The story of the red thread, Athens) – 2017

Yael Davids: A Reading that Loves, A Physical Act – 2017 including Death mask of Else Lasker Schüler

Nairy Baghramian: Drawing Table (Homage to Jane Bowles) – 2017

Hans Eijkelboom: from The Street & Modern Life – 2014

Edi Hila: Conversation – 2014

Facade EMST

This beautiful new piece was to be found in the changing booth of the 24 hours project

Frans van Lent en Nico Parlevliet van Unnoticed Art, almost After Hours at Platforms Project

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#3: Athens – Platforms Project 2017

May 21, 2017

This sunday was to be the longest day of the Fair: from 12.00 untill 23.00 h. Unfortunately it was also a day that some religious nameday was celebrated and that  important sportsevents took place. It was very quiet at the fair and it felt desencouraging to have so little people coming by, but everybody made the best of it. I visited some booths that I didn’t see yet as you can see here:

On the way to the Platforms we run into a Documenta project: Rasheed Araeen: Food for Thought: Thought for change – 2017 In this location refugees can have free meals every day. There’s a kitchen in the middle and  there are terraces all around.

The design is very efficiënt: recognisable from afar

Arriving at the Platforms the KRAATZ-artists appear to have liven up to their promise: the booth changes, here with added posters by Stéphan Guénau

Marian Wijnvoord and Isolde Nagel are stil in doubt about one wall

But this A-Trans wall is well done

Alexander Peev at Dadada Academy

Klitsa Antoniou: But at the End the Light was Shed on us and it got us to the shore – 2016.  A horrible video with a girl that tells about loving her father and how she likes to help him put shrapnel in bombs and how they flee to the west where she gets to know other children of her age

En Flo: Project Xouthou Street – a door from a house in the centre of Athens you can go through

after which you can write down what it brings about in you. Left under is my comment.

Extra Muros from Nantes was good again: they had subtle ceramic works by Cat Fenwick

It’s all about equilibrium

Guillaume Krick showed a very non-commercial installation with an old French flag

And Romain Rambaud was his usual elegant self with these sculptures

That I rather like

Diensgebäude is also present with work from Andreas Martí

and Chloe Cheuk

Elisabeth Wheeler

This work at Harrington Mills Studios was nice

I like the materiality of it

A sneak peak at the new unnoticed art exhibit featuring a small work by yours truly

Haïtian art at Kallio Kunsthalle, cut from car tires

Petri Saariko, the curator did well himself too

In the mean while our publicity was great: Ellen Rodenberg’s picture of her Malieveld piece was in a large national newspaper in an article about Platforms project

And I was interviewed by George Oreopoulos for Beton7 Art Radio (my favourite radiostation)

Our Dutch Globalist Willem Jan Smit made a round through the neighbourhood, created a sculpture

And projected it’s shadow on the wall by means of the dust he took off it

And of course some materials he used

One more view at Lo and Behold in the cellar

With work by Linda Weiss

Ed’s Video from Canada had surprisingly analogue art with him this time

End we ended up nearby in a restaurant during a blazing thunderstorm

Nico Parlevliet from Unnoticed Art joined us from Holland and everybody sang for me after midnight because of my birthday!

Platforms Project 2017

#2: Athens – Documenta 14 @ Athens Conservatoire – Platforms Project 2017

20 mei 2017

Today the Platforms Project opened for the public. Before I had some time to visit a venue of Documenta 14, The Athens Conservatoire or Odeion as Greeks call it. In the next reports I will show the works I thought worth while, in the end I shall try to eveluate Documenta as a whole.

At the entrance – David Lamelas: Time as Activity – a three channel live feed from resp. the German parliament, the Acropolis and the Greek Parliament.

Susan Hiller made a beautiful work, a sound-booth with recordings of vanished or endangered languages

Of course, in a conservatory, music can not be omitted. The Contemporary Music Research Centre, founded by Iannis Xenakis, Giannis Papaioannou and Stephanos Vassiliadis conducted research and engaged in educational projects as well as festivals and collaborations.

For instance Mycenae Polypoton, a site specific performance set in the ruins of Mycenae in 1978. It involved musicians, singers, sheperds and lit sheep as well as other recitals of movement and light.

On the occasion of Documenta 14 an old synthisizer was restored, the EMS Synthi 100, a rare analogue synthesizer built in London in 1971. Four compositions have been written for it to be played during Documenta 14.

Akinbode Akinbiyi: Passageways, Involuntary and the Sound of Crowded Spaces – 2015-2017

Pélagie Gbaguidi: The Missing Link, Decolonisation Education by mrs. Smiling Stone – 2017

Pélagie Gbaguidi: The Missing Link, Decolonisation Education by mrs. Smiling Stone – 2017

Guilermo Galindo: Score for Boca de la noche – 2016 (from the series “Border Canto’s”)

Guilermo Galindo: Score for Border Planetarium – 2016 (from the series “Border Canto’s”)

Kettly Noël: Strange Fruit

André du Colombier: Untitled

Peter Friedl: Report – 2016

Ganesh Haloi: Untitled – 2016

Ganesh Haloi: Untitled – 2016

Hiwa K: Pre-Image (Blind as the Mother Tongue) – 2017 A video of a man escaping his country with a stick on his head with mirrors attached to it. He sees his surroundings and himself in the mirrors while we see him walking to his destiny. A voice-over relates his feelings in all this.

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

After the Conservatory I walked to the venue where Platforms project was beïng held,. On the way I stopped at some of the places where small presentations in Documenta could be seen. The Nikos Hadjikyriakos- Ghika Museum, one of the four locations of the Benaki Museum is a beautiful house in the centre of the city. It shows biographies of well known writers, actors, poets, composers and painters and sculptors. The building used to be the house of Ghika, one of the famous Greek modernist painters, the two top floors show his living quarters and his studio. In between all this Documenta had placed work of forgotten painters. The paintings were not very interesting, apparently they were chosen because of their subjects: immigrants and other non Greek persons.

Beautiful sketches of renovation of The Niche, the 8th gymnasium school chapel of Athens

And this is the chapel, a nice modernist buiding

A picture of Greek poet Seferis together with Ezra Pound

This is the official document which was given to Giorgos Seferis when he won the Nobel Prize for litterature

36 Black and white pictures by Nikos Hadjikyriakos- Ghikawere added by Documenta

They show Greek living in the thirties

but you can recognise the painter in the structures and the compositions

The Numismatic Museum showed one work: that of Dan Peterman, who also shows at the EMST

It’s a bar of metal, the form suggests gold, from under the sea maybe?

Back in Platforms an impression of what is beïng shown by different artists initiatives:

Oversight EX-MÊKH booth

EX-MÊKH: Maarten Schepers

Maarten Schepers close up with his night-pictures of stars

Ellen Rodenberg: detail

Kees Koomen: oversight

KRAATZ is an interesting collaboration from Berlin with A-Trans’ Isolde Nagel, painter Marian Wijnvoord, musician Yorgos Dimitriadis, Stéphan Gueneau, Louise Crawford and philosopher Forbes Morlock. This installation was to change every day, though I found it interesting as it was

A-Trans showed photographs by Ekkehard Keintzel and pantings by Marian Wijnvoord

The combination of which worked out well

Moving landscapes by Marian Wijnvoord

Rosa Lux collaborated with other galleries again, this is Tiny Domingos at Beaston Projects

With slightly surrealistic pictures too

And this is Linda Weiss at Paper from UK

She had a beautiful presentation by the way, for instance with these Trump Tower grids!

National TV was present at the opening, interviewing Dutch globally based artist Willem-Jan Smit

The cellar was the real underground with nice work at ID:I

At Future Scenarios pictures were taken of the public

I don’t have the name of this collective, but it was a lively lot

At 24 hours project a daily change would take place also, I liked this as it was though!

With great graphic art up in the corner

and a protagonist on the side

Unnoticed Art presents an unnoticed exhibition, but it also executes performances of these artists regularly!

Unnoticed Art makes one curious for its intentions

but it appears to be a very intimate exhibition, featuring the works of EX-MÊKH-members

This is the wall in the cellar where the Lo and Behold shows their project, EX-MÊKH is presented in a nice context

After the opening of Platforms drinks in a local bar. On the way there we passed the Panathinaikos stadium, covered with grafitti!

Platforms Project 2017

Documenta 14