Germany's Documenta 15 exhibition to go ahead in 2022

The show, this year curated by an Indonesian art collective, will take place as planned next summer

Visitors observe ‘The Parthenon of Books’ by Argentinian artist Marta Minujin at the Documenta 14 exhibition in Kassel, Germany. EPA
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The 15th Documenta, a contemporary art exhibition that takes place in Germany every five years, will go ahead next year, despite uncertainties around the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

On Friday, organisers of the exhibition confirmed their decision to keep the event’s original dates, from June 18, 2022 to September 25, 2022. In the lead-up to the decision, the supervisory board and shareholders of the exhibition had deliberated on certain issues, such as travel plans for artists to come to the German city of Kassel, along with matters regarding organisational staff.

In the end, the board decided to proceed with the 2022 event, with possibilities for scaling down exhibitions and visitor entry.

Documenta 15 is curated by ruangrupa, an artist collective in Jakarta, Indonesia. It is the first time that a collective has put together the prestigious art exhibition.

In a statement, Christian Geselle, Kassel’s mayor and the chairman of the supervisory board, said: “After careful consideration of the opportunities and risks, the supervisory board has come to the conclusion that staging Documenta 15 in 2022 is important, even under possible continuing restrictions due to the Covid-19 pandemic, especially in these still uncertain times.”

At a press conference, Ade Darmawan, a member of ruangrupa, said that the collective has already selected around 53 artists and that groups of artists have been able to travel to Kassel since June.

“The idea of postponing means that we are envisioning a time when things can go back to normal, but this likely won’t happen,” said Darmawan. “We need to live with these new normalities.”

Ruangrupa’s theme for Documenta 15 will focus on the concept of lumbung, a collectively governed rice barn in Indonesia. The ideas also expand to notions of collectivity, community, as well as building and sharing resources.

Updated: July 04, 2021, 9:05 AM