Opening of documenta fifteen 

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Opening of documenta fifteen 

Author : Sara Taheran

Reading Time : 4 Minutes

Documenta fifteen will run from June 18 to September 25, 2022, in the presence of 67 artists in Kassel, Germany. The event, which will last for one hundred days, is an exhibition that takes place every five years. This year, an Indonesian group called "Ruangrupa" is the art director of the event. 

Ruangrupa, which means "artistic place," is a non-profit art organization located in the south of Jakarta, Indonesia. The basic idea of this group was formed in the mid-1990s based on the concept of "association" and it officially started its activity by aiming to promote artistic visions in the urban and cultural context. Besides publishing art books and magazines, this art collective has arranged many exhibitions, art festivals, and workshops, most of which are concentrated on "association" as a concept rooted in Indonesian culture and history. 

Ruangrupa: Reza Afisina, Indra Ameng, Farid Rakun, Daniella Fitria Praptono, Iswanto Hartono, Ajeng Nurul Aini, Ade Darmawan, Julia Sarisetiati, Mirwan Andan Photo: Gudskul | Jin Panji | 2019 | Source:


Here are the members of the Ruangrupa group: 

  • Ade Darmawan, director 

  • Ajeng Nurul Aini, video journalism section 

  • Daniella Fitria Praptono, director of finance 

  • Farid Rakun, director of Jakarta Biennale 

  • Indra Ameng, program coordinator  

  • Iswanto Hatono, curator and in charge of ArtLab 

  • Julia Sarisetiati, curator and in charge of the education section 

  • Mirwan Andan, researcher 

  • Narpati Awangga, in charge of the digital section 

  • Reza Afisina, director of ArtLab 

Ruangrupa derives its approach from the Indonesian word "Lumbung," meaning "rice barn," which refers to a communal building in a village in Indonesia. This is where villagers collect, store and distribute their products based on common specific criteria, which makes it very similar to the exhibition project. Therefore, Lumbung as an objective experience is where documenta fifteen starts to promote the concept of association. The approach of each edition of documenta is specified by its art director. Ruangrupa states that: 

"We want to create a globally oriented, collaborative, and interdisciplinary art and culture platform that will remain effective beyond the 100 days of documenta fifteen. Our curatorial approach strives for a different kind of collaborative model of resource use — in economic terms but also with regard to ideas, knowledge, programs and innovations."

History  of documenta

documenta und Museum Fridericianum is a non-profit organization in Germany supported by citizens of Kassel city and Hessen state and is also managed and sponsored by the German Federal Cultural Foundation

In 1955, Arnold Bod, painter and professor at Kassel academy, founded the Society of Western Art of the 20th Century to revive German art of the post-war period. He put effort into bringing Germany back to the world's art scene by "representing the 20th-century art". The society started its activity by exhibiting modern artworks that were initially stored in the destroyed Fridericianum museum and works of "degenerate art"; a term used by Nazis to refer to arts that did not comply with their lines of thought. These works had never been displayed publicly. Therefore, documenta one started with artworks of the leading art movements of the time (Fauvism, Expressionism, Futurism) along with a retrospective show of artists such as Pablo Picasso, Wassily Kandinsky, Henri Matisse, Henry Moore, Max Ernst, and Hans Arp. Moreover, this exhibition provided a platform to introduce German artists such as Max Beckmann, Paul Klee, and Oskar Schlemmer

documenta one was held in Fridericianum museum, but from documenta two onward, as the number of visitors increased, more locations were specified for the show. This year, 32 sites are assigned to documenta fifteen. 

For the people who had been unaware of the news of the art world during the war years, documenta was a treasured art event. The prevalent desire to see the artworks caused about 1300 visitors to travel to Kassel. Such an unexpected warm welcome encouraged Bod to arrange documenta two in 1959, and it has been running in the same pattern so far. Bod kept directing the event until its fourth edition, but since 1972, it has been directed by an international jury board. Catherine David, the French art historian, was the first woman to become the director of documenta in 1997. 

Here is a list of documenta editions along with the directors' names: 

  • documenta 1 (1955): Arnold Bod  

  • documenta 2 (1959): Arnold Bod 

  • documenta 3 (1964): Arnold Bod 

  • documenta 4 (1968): Arnold Bod 

  • documenta 5 (1972): Herlad Szeemann 

  • documenta 6 (1977): Manfred Schneckenburger 

  • documenta 7 (1982): Rudy Fuchs 

  • documenta 8 (1988): Manfred Schneckenburger 

  • documenta 9 (1992): Yan Hoet 

  • documenta 10 (1997): Catherine David 

  • documenta 11 (2002): Okwui Enwezor  

  • documenta 12 (2007): Roger M. Buergel 

  • documenta 13 (2012): Carolyn Christov Bakargive 

  • documenta 14 (2017): Adam Szymczyk 

  • documenta 15 (2022): Ruangrupa group 

Today, documenta is not only a gathering to address contemporary issues of the art world, but also a platform to support innovative ideas in order to reflect the art community's expectations and sometimes challenge them as well. Over the last decades, documenta, as a pioneer art institution, has reached a strong status in the art world; every five years, it invites many art enthusiasts from across the globe to visit this "museum of 100 days". documenta fifteen is open for visiting from 10 am to 8 pm. Its daily tickets cost €27.