The first documenta taking place in 1955. The lowercase "d" in the exhibition name, which is now known around the world, comes from this time.
The Kassel documenta has come to be the largest and most highly regarded exhibition of contemporary art in the world. In the meantime staged every five years, this show – or world art show, as many like to call it – poses questions regarding the nature and role of art and of the practice of exhibiting art each time it is held. In doing so, it makes a significant contribution to the discourse and the self-understanding of the discipline.
The enormous quantity of material that comes together in the preparation and realization of this unique exhibition event inspired the founder of the documenta Arnold Bode with the idea of establishing an archive for the documenta already in 1961. It was clear to Bode that the materials from previous documenta exhibitions would be an indispensable basis for the preparation of subsequent shows. To begin with, therefore, the files and materials and correspondence of each documenta team and its employees formed the core of the institution's collection, which grew exponentially from exhibition to exhibition.
In addition, the documenta Archive is the home of one of the most important specialty libraries for art of the 20th and 21 centuries in Germany, an extensive collection of press clippings as well as a constantly growing media archive that supplements the diverse materials of the collection with multimedia resources. The bequests of Arnold Bode, Hans Hillmann and Harry Kramer as well as the private archive of Floris M. Neusüss are also among the treasures contained in the Archive.
Free guided tours through the documenta Archive are conducted on Wednesday afternoons at 6:00 p.m. Call +49 (0)561 787 4022 to register for a tour or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
My documenta is a contemporary witness project of the documenta Archive. It calls on researchers, citizens of Kassel and the surrounding region, national and international friends of the documenta and visitors to the exhibition to share their knowledge and experiences with the documenta Archive and thus with researchers of the future.
The first contemporary witness video was produced on 14 May 2014. Featured in the video was Gerhard Hoffmeister, who worked at the Hotel Reiss during documenta IV and thus had extensive contact with documenta visitors and luminaries associated with the exhibition. He shared his memories of Christo und Jeanne-Claude with the documenta Archive and thus with future researchers.
Current reports about My documenta can be found at the facebook page of the documenta Archive. More information on the project, photos of the first treasures preserved for the future as well as conditions for participating in the project can be found at My documenta .
Learning about art and learning to love it: Borrowing artworks from the Artothek
Owing to shortages of space and personnel, the outstanding Artothek of the documenta Archive has been outsourced and is now part of the Kassel City Library. More detailed information can be found here .
Attention: As our website is under permanent construction, please have a look at our German version of this page as well.