dOCUMENTA (13) in the park

A welcome resting place.

Many dOCUMENTA (13) artworks can be seen throughout Karlsaue Park. Art in a park traditionally takes on the form of sculptures, but many of the art installations in Auepark consisted of ‘pavilions’ or small buildings functioning as cinemas showing art films. It was a surreal experience to watch some of the conceptual art films in complete darkness and silence (as in a cinema), and then exit to the sunny and carefree Auepark.

One of the films that haunts me is Omar Fast’s Continuity (2012). Divided into three parts, the film follows a bourgeois German couple as they hire male escorts to enact the speculative homecoming of the son that they lost in Afghanistan. Another spellbinding work is Joan Jonas’s fragments of films and installation video-clips mixing sound, text, sculpture, drawing, and video.

The rest of the artworks show here demonstrate that dOCUMENTA (13) is focussed on conceptual art. Many of the sculptural works questions preconceived notions of materiality. Guiseppe Penone’s Views of a Stone, for example, looks like a tree from far, but on closer inspection the viewer is confronted with a large bronze tree structure holding a stone. The installations in the park also presents familiar materials in new forms. A peculiar water installation by Massinom Bartolini consists of “a pool in which a wave sloshes back and forth evenly and endlessly” (Schmidt). The effect is mesmerizing (watch a video of it).

Due to the vastness of Karlsaue and the general overload of contemporary art ar dOCUMENTA (13), it was impossible to view all of the artworks installed in the park. However, the one artwork that no-one misses is Song Dong’s massive installation in front of the Orangerie, entitled Doing nothing garden. It consists of a garden concealing a heap of trash.

All the photographs are my own expect the film stills of ‘Continuity’.

Omar Fast. ‘Continuity’. 2012. Digital film, color, sound. 40 min.

Joan Jonas. ‘Reanimation (In a Meadow)’. 2010-12. Mixed media (Wooden house, video, sound, garden)

Joan Jonas. ‘Reanimation (In a Meadow)’. 2010-12. Mixed media (Wooden house, video, sound, garden)

Joan Jonas. ‘Reanimation (In a Meadow)’. 2010-12. Mixed media (Wooden house, video, sound, garden)

An example of the sort of ‘pavilions’ found throughout the park. This box emitted sound. Artist unknown.

Christian Philipp Müller. ‘Swiss Chard Ferry (The Russians aren’t going to make it across the Fulda anymore)’. 2012
Varieties of colorful chard, planted on in barges floating on a canal.

Christian Philipp Müller. ‘Swiss Chard Ferry (The Russians aren’t going to make it across the Fulda anymore)’. 2012
Varieties of colorful chard, planted on in barges floating on a canal.

Massimo Bartolini. ‘Untitled (Wave)’. 2012. Outdoor kinetic installation with water (the water moves in a rhythmic wave).

Massimo Bartolini. ‘Untitled (Wave)’. 2012. Outdoor kinetic installation with water (the water moves in a rhythmic wave).

Giuseppe Penone. ‘Views of a Stone’. 2010. Bronze and stone.

Giuseppe Penone. ‘Views of a Stone’. 2010. Bronze and stone.

Anri Sala. ‘Clocked Perspective’. 2012

Shinro Ohtake. ‘Mon Cheri: A Self-Portrait as a Scrapped Shed’. 2012. Mixed media installation.

Shinro Ohtake. Detail: ‘Mon Cheri: A Self-Portrait as a Scrapped Shed’. 2012. Mixed media installation.

Shinro Ohtake. Detail: ‘Mon Cheri: A Self-Portrait as a Scrapped Shed’. 2012. Mixed media installation.

Shinro Ohtake. Detail: ‘Mon Cheri: A Self-Portrait as a Scrapped Shed’. 2012. Mixed media installation.

Song Dong. ‘Doing nothing garden’. 2012. (A heap of thrash with greenery growing in it)

Song Dong. ‘Doing nothing garden’. 2012. (A heap of thrash with greenery growing in it)

Song Dong. Detail: ‘Doing nothing garden’. 2012. (A heap of thrash with greenery growing in it)

I kept on returning to Song Dong’s installation. The plants inside it are fascinating.

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