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DOCUMENTA 11_PLATFORM 5

By Elisa Mezzetti

The eleventh edition of Documenta (8th June – 15th September) takes a 360° look at contemporary art around the globe. Transversality and contamination are the key characteristics to be found in the works of all the artists present.
The exhibitions, held in five different venues around the city (Fridericianum, Documenta Halle, Orangerie, Binding-Brauerai e Kultur-Bahnhof), should be approached bearing in mind the possibilities the artists have to work transversally using different languages and crossing the geographical and cultural limits of their home countries.
For this purpose, as a kind of ‘preparation’ to Documenta, Okwui Enwezor (the event’s curator) organised four seminars between March 2001 and June 2002 in four different capitals around the world (Vienna, New Delhi, St. Lucia and Berlin) aimed at providing an opportunity for cultural and artistic comparison and exchange. This extraordinary openness allowed for the creation of a space which has given room to and shed light on a wide variety of genres. And the exhibitions have become a kind of ‘meta-language’ through which the artists speak to each other face to face, and their different genres find fertile common ground on which to exchange ideas.
It is very clear how such an approach may quickly assume a political as well as a social dimension in some way, especially for those artists from countries where one’s day to day life is threatened by wars or by the socio-political situation. It is at this point that art once again becomes the most transversal language, not only by virtue of the means it exploits but the content it puts across as well.
This edition of Documenta clearly testifies to how both the curators and the artists have come to terms with the two faces of space and time. The word ‘space’ here stands for a whole series of socio-political as well as geographical implications, while the word ‘time’ stands for a series of historic events as well as current ones.