Documenta: Pars pro toto

The number of artists present at Documenta was overwhelming – I’ve only seen a minor percentage of all that was on show in Kassel, and came away gasping. Then then is Kabul, Alexandria and Banff (that is in Canada – I checked). An amazing compendium – compendium is a concise, yet comprehensive compilation of a body of knowledge – no, the word does not fit, Documenta being neither concise nor comprehensive. It’s an amazing maze, a multitude. Two pertinent quotes from an article by Roberta Smith of the New York Times:

I would not have missed this seething, shape-shifting extravaganza for the world, and I’d rather not see its like again, at least not on this dwarfing, imperious, self-canceling scale.

Documenta 13 is perhaps most effective as a disembodied state of mind. Ms. Christov-Bakargiev seems to have intended it to be the first of its kind in terms of its sheer porosity, the way it blends with the world. But its incomprehensible, viewer-defying vastness perpetuates an old model, the curator as all-seeing-god, on a disheartening scale. In this way, it seems as much a dying breed as a new start.

Posting two pics of a work/installation/living area  by Gareth Moore. He has been allotted a sizable part of the maintenance area of  Karlsaue Park, and has been living there since spring 2010. He built himself a home, a privvy, a washhouse, a shrine, all from discarded material that he found or acquired in Kassel. Inspiring!

His installation acts as a pars-pro-toto of the whole show. Both pile up stuff – an endearing, magpie-like quality. Both have a go at blurring the boundaries of art and life. If art and life have boundaries, that is.

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