dOCUMENTA (13): Interview with Documenta Expert Dr. Harald Kimpel

Documenta in Kassel (Germany) is one of the most important exhibitions for contemporary art in the world. Artist, teacher and curator Arnold Bode founded it in 1955, as part of the Bundesgartenschau (Federal Horticultural Show) in Kassel. It is not unusual that each Documenta has caused controversy. The 2012 edition, dOCUMENTA (13), is no exception. But despite – or maybe precisely because of – the discussions around it, each Documenta is even more successful than the previous one. But what is the reason for the success?

VernissageTV met with Documenta expert Dr. Harald Kimpel on one of the first days of dOCUMENTA (13) in front of the Fridericianum, one of the main exhibition spaces of Documenta. The art historian, author and curator is the authority when it comes to the history of the Documenta in Kassel. We wanted to know: What do you think of the concept of this year’s Documenta? Is Documenta still relevant? What is the future of Documenta? In this conversation with art critic and art historian Dr. Bettina Krogemann, Harald Kimpel talks about the Documenta’s ever expanding concept of art, the uniqueness of this art event, the competition it is facing, and the possible future of this world art show.

The video above is an excerpt. The video interview in full-length is available below. dOCUMENTA (13) runs until September 16, 2012.

dOCUMENTA (13), Kassel (Germany). Dr. Bettina Krogemann in conversation with Dr. Harald Kimpel. June 8, 2012.

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Complete interview with Harald Kimpel (in German language with English subtitles, 13:17 min.):

Harald Kimpel was born in 1950 in Kassel. He studied Art Education at the College of Fine Arts / University of Kassel and Art History, Classical Archaeology and European Ethnology at the University of Marburg. In 1996 he graduated with a thesis on the history of the Documenta.

Since 1980, Harald Kimpel works as a researcher at the cultural department of the city of Kassel in various capacities, including as Head of Exhibition Department and in the Department of Cultural Promotion and Counseling. Harald Kimpel is also a member of the Deutsche Werkbund Hessen (DWH).

As an author, Harald Kimpel has written essays and monographs about Documenta and many other topics. As a curator he has conceived exhibitions such as: Art in Advertising (Kassel, 1982); Aversion / acceptance. Public art and public opinion. Outdoor installations of Documenta-past (Kassel, 1992); and Skinscapes. The art of the body surface (Marburg, 2009).

Biographical information from: Wikipedia, keyword “Harald Kimpel“, version July 5, 2012, 12:16.

dOCUMENTA (13) Director Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev about the show (excerpt from the Documenta-website):

The thirteenth edition of documenta involves more than 300 participants. The exhibition in Kassel is presented at eight main venues, with many other projects located at sites throughout the center of the city.  Over the coming weeks an extensive program of lectures, seminars, congresses, films, and poetry readings, as well as a writers’ residency and programs initiated by dOCUMENTA (13) participants, will be presented.
dOCUMENTA (13) is physically and conceptually sited in four locations””Kassel, Kabul, Alexandria/Cairo, and Banff.
dOCUMENTA (13) is dedicated to artistic research and forms of imagination that explore commitment, matter, things, embodiment, and active living in connection with, yet not subordinated to, theory. These are terrains where politics are inseparable from a sensual, energetic, and worldly alliance between current research in various scientific and artistic fields and other knowledges, both ancient and contemporary. dOCUMENTA (13) is driven by a holistic and non-logocentric vision that is skeptical of the persisting belief in economic growth. This vision is shared with, and recognizes, the shapes and practices of knowing of all the animate and inanimate makers of the world, including people.

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