The German political world has reacted negatively to the news that the 14th edition of the country’s most important exhibition of contemporary art, Documenta, will now be opening in Greece instead of Kassel. The news has outraged local politicians an business leaders alike, which has been reported in regional newspaper HNA.
“I am appalled and shocked at how the legacy of Documenta founder Arnold Bode is being violated,” said Gerhard Jochinger, chairman of a local business association told HNA.
Adam Szymczyk, the artistic director of Documenta 14 announced the plans for the dual-city edition of the exhibition last week; but the planned departure of Documenta to Greece will both diminish Kassel’s reputation internationally as a cultural destination and damage the small provincial city’s economy – according to its residents and local politicians.
Since Greece accepted a €240 billion bailout from the E.U. and I.M.F. in 2010, relations between Germany and the country have been the focus of continued international scrutiny. Now it seems that the art world will focus on the two countries relationship – through the planned upcoming edition of Documenta. The quinquennial exhibition is set for 2017.
Norbert Wett who is the local head of the conservative CDU political party, told HNA “We shouldn’t be letting Athens take our Documenta away from us.” He also believed that the city of Kassel should not be contributing €300,000 towards the €3.5 million budget to stage Documenta in its proposed new location in Greece.
The mayor of Kassel, Bertram Hilgen, who is also the chairman of Documenta’s supervisory board, has publicly supported Szymczyk’s plans to move the location of Germany’s prestigious Documenta. While the recent financial relationship between Greece and Germany certainly factored into Szymczyk’s decision regarding Athens, he assured the press that its geographic identity and immigration issues were far more curatorially relevant to his decison.