Biennials & TriennialsPeople 07-04-2017

Documenta 14 | Athens, the transitory city host to transformative art

As the curtain is lifted at the immense Athens Concert Hall s, the curators, their teams, and of course the exhibiting artists of this year’s Documenta are revealed in a somewhat dramatic fashion. They observe us — the first visitors to the 14th edition of the event — observing them.

Clear and articulate, Adam Szymczyk begins speaking,  starting to map out the work that has taken place over the last five years in preparation for Documenta. Beyond the unprecedented displacement of the event’s opening from Kassel to Athens, there is something extraordinary about  this year’s presentation. The disparity between today’s political and economic realities and the artistic vision that is presented in Athens is clear. The collaboration of European citizens challenges these aforementioned structures.  

“Learning from Athens” means that we need to unlearn, and to realize that from the outset, we know nothing. This edition of Documenta is heavily political and Szymczyk calls upon us, as citizens, to act collectively and artistically in order to escape the logic of corporate interests.


Banu Cennetoğlu, Gurbet’s Diary (27.07.1995–08.10.1997), 2016–17, various materials, Gennadius Library, Athens, documenta 14, photo: Freddie F.


This space of non-knowledge is where our journey begins. A journey that will take us into the heart of the city: to get lost is part of the proces.

From tomorrow citizens and non-citizens of Athens will be able to explore the city’s museums and cultural sites, discovering and rediscovering artists. There is a rich schedule of performances featuring Annie Sprinkle, Beth Stephens and Marta Minujin, with exhibitions taking place at the The National Museum of Contemporary Art, (EMST) and other museums across the city.

Students from the Athens School of Fine Arts will be opening up their studios to the public over the coming days, whilst the Benaki museum will exhibit work by Roee Rosen and Nilima Sheikh, with a new series of photographs by Gauri Gill on display at the Epigraphical museum. Performances by Nikhil Chopra and Anton Katz should also not be missed.

Athens is brimming with tensions, this murderous city, this transitory city, will play host to art that is also transitory but looks to transform and act as an affirmative response to the contemporary context. This body of work tries to provide some kind of solution, but first we must unlearn to understand.  


Apostolos Georgiou, Untitled, 2013, acrylic on canvas, Megaron, The Athens Concert Hall, Athens, documenta 14, photo: Angelos Giotopoulos


Miriam Cahn, installation view, Benaki Museum—Pireos Street Annexe, Athens, documenta 14, photo: Stathis Mamalakis


Lala Rukh, installation view, Athens Conservatoire (Odeion), Athens, documenta 14, photo: Mathias Völzke


Below, the full list of participating artists to this year's Documenta:

Akinbode Akinbiyi
Nevin Aladağ
Daniel García Andújar
Danai Anesiadou
Andreas Angelidakis
Aristide Antonas
Rasheed Araeen
Ariuntugs Tserenpil
Michel Auder
Alexandra Bachzetsis
Nairy Baghramian
Sammy Baloji
Arben Basha
Rebecca Belmore
Sokol Beqiri
Roger Bernat
Bili Bidjocka
Ross Birrell
Llambi Blido
Nomin Bold
Pavel Brăila
Geta Brătescu
Miriam Cahn
María Magdalena Campos-Pons and Neil Leonard
Vija Celmins
Banu Cennetoğlu
Panos Charalambous
Nikhil Chopra
Ciudad Abierta
Anna Daučíková
Moyra Davey
Yael Davids
Agnes Denes
Manthia Diawara
Beau Dick (1955–2017)
Maria Eichhorn
Hans Eijkelboom
Bonita Ely
Theo Eshetu
Aboubakar Fofana
Peter Friedl
Guillermo Galindo
Regina José Galindo
Israel Galván, Niño de Elche, and Pedro G. Romero
Pélagie Gbaguidi
Apostolos Georgiou
Yervant Gianikian and Angela Ricci Lucchi
Gauri Gill
Marina Gioti
Beatriz González
Douglas Gordon
Hans Haacke
Constantinos Hadzinikolaou
Irena Haiduk
Ganesh Haloi
Anna Halprin
Dale Harding
David Harding
Maria Hassabi
Edi Hila
Susan Hiller
Hiwa K
Olaf Holzapfel
Gordon Hookey
Sanja Iveković
Amar Kanwar
Romuald Karmakar
Andreas Ragnar Kassapis
Kettly Noël
Bouchra Khalili
Khvay Samnang
Daniel Knorr
Katalin Ladik
David Lamelas
Rick Lowe
Alvin Lucier
Ibrahim Mahama
Narimane Mari
Marie Cool Fabio Balducci
Mata Aho Collective
Jonas Mekas
Angela Melitopoulos
Phia Ménard
Lala Meredith-Vula
Gernot Minke
Marta Minujín
Naeem Mohaiemen
Hasan Nallbani
Joar Nango
Rosalind Nashashibi and Nashashibi/Skaer
Negros Tou Moria (Kevin Zans Ansong)
Otobong Nkanga
Emeka Ogboh
Olu Oguibe
Rainer Oldendorf
Pauline Oliveros (1932–2016)
Zafos Xagoraris
Joaquín Orellana Mejía
Christos Papoulias
Véréna Paravel and Lucien Castaing-Taylor
Benjamin Patterson (1934–2016)
Dan Peterman
Angelo Plessas
Nathan Pohio
Prinz Gholam
R. H. Quaytman
Abel Rodríguez
Tracey Rose
Roee Rosen
Lala Rukh
Arin Rungjang
Ben Russell
Georgia Sagri
Máret Ánne Sara
Ashley Hans Scheirl
David Schutter
Algirdas Šeškus
Nilima Sheikh
Ahlam Shibli
Zef Shoshi
Mounira Al Solh
Annie Sprinkle and Beth Stephens
Eva Stefani
K. G. Subramanyan (1924–2016)
Vivian Suter
El Hadji Sy
Sámi Artist Group (Britta Marakatt-Labba, Keviselie/Hans Ragnar Mathisen, Synnøve Persen)
Terre Thaemlitz
Piotr Uklański
Antonio Vega Macotela
Cecilia Vicuña
Annie Vigier & Franck Apertet (les gens d’Uterpan)
Wang Bing
Lois Weinberger
Stanley Whitney
Elisabeth Wild
Ruth Wolf-Rehfeldt
Ulrich Wüst
Sergio Zevallos
Mary Zygouri
Artur Żmijewski

Stephen Antonakos (1926–2013)
Arseny Avraamov (1886–1944)
Étienne Baudet (ca. 1638–1711)
Franz Boas (1858–1942)
Lucius Burckhardt (1925–2003)
Abdurrahim Buza (1905–1986)
Vlassis Caniaris (1928–2011)
Sotir Capo (1934–2012)
Cornelius Cardew (1936–1981)
Ulises Carrión (1941–1989)
Agim Çavdarbasha (1944–1999)
Jani Christou (1926–1970)
Chryssa (1933–2013)
Andre du Colombier (1952–2003)
Bia Davou (1932–1996)
Ioannis Despotopoulos (1903–1992)
Thomas Dick (1877–1927)
Maria Ender (1897–1942)
Forough Farrokhzad (1935–1967)
Tomislav Gotovac (1937–2010)
Nikos Hadjikyriakos-Ghika (1906–1994)
Oskar Hansen (1922–2005)
Sedje Hemon (1923–2011)
Tshibumba Kanda Matulu (1947–1981 disappeared)
Kel Kodheli (1918–2006)
Spiro Kristo (1936–2011)
KSYME-CMRC (founded 1979)
Maria Lai (1919–2013)
George Lappas (1950–2016)
Ernest Mancoba (1904–2002)
Oscar Masotta (1930–1979)
Pandi Mele (1939–2015)
Benode Behari Mukherjee (1904–1980)
Krzysztof Niemczyk (1938–1994)
Ivan Peries (1921–1988)
David Perlov (1930–2003)
André Pierre (1915–2005)
Dimitris Pikionis (1887–1968)
Anne Charlotte Robertson (1949–2012)
Erna Rosenstein (1913–2004)
Scratch Orchestra (1969–1974)
Allan Sekula (1951–2013)
Foto Stamo (1916–1989)
Gani Strazimiri (1915–1993)
Władysław Strzemiński (1893–1952)
Alina Szapocznikow (1926–1973)
Yannis Tsarouchis (1910–1989)
Lionel Wendt (1900–1944)
Basil Wright (1907–1987)
Andrzej Wróblewski (1927–1957)
Iannis Xenakis (1922–2001)
Androniqi Zengo Antoniu (1913–2000)
Pierre Zucca (1943–1995)

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