10. June 2017 – 17. September 2017
For the first time since its opening in 1992, the Museum for Sepulchral Culture was one of the locations of the documenta. The contributions to documenta 14 were loosely integrated into the collection by one of the curators, Pierre Bal-Blanc, and showed artistic works and archive documents by nine documenta participants, who "stage the body as an instrument and as a register, as cause and effect, as a way to invoke history or to set it in motion, as a means of oppression or as a sign of the oppressed."
From June to September 2017, contributions to documenta 14 could be admired on three floors of the Museum for Sepulchral Culture, including those by the artist duo Prince Gholam. Prince Gholam is composed of the German Wolfgang Prinz (*1969) and the Lebanese born Michel Gholam (*1963), who met in 1993 during their studies at the State Academy of Fine Arts Karlsruhe and have been working together since 2001. According to the artists, their way of working is made possible by an interdependence and a symbiosis-like relationship between the two. A large part of her catalogue raisonné consists of the numerous performances, which always follow a similar pattern and are often captured on film. The two artists, like a choreography, constantly adopt new postures, and in fact those which they seem to have internalized through their intensive occupation with works of art and also newer media.
Two events in the context of the documenta had multiplier effects in addition to the event on site, which in this case concretely extended to our antipodes in Australia. At the beginning of September, the Australia Art Council was a guest at the Museum for Sepulchral Culture. After a two-day tour of documenta 14, a final reception by the Australian government for 45 members and guests of the Australia Art Council took place at the Museum of Sepulchral Culture. The "Australian Arts Council", comparable to our Federal Commissioner for Culture and Media, is responsible for government support for arts and culture at home and abroad.
The Australian researcher John Heath was a guest at the last documenta weekend. He is a contemporary member of the Birpai indigenous community and spoke about his documenta contribution at the Museum of Sepulchral Culture with archive materials and original photographs from the 1910s by Thomas Dick. The title of his lecture was "Black and White Perspectives of the Thomas Dick Photographic Collection." Thomas Dick's photographs showed staged situations from the life of the Aborigines as he imagined it to be in the time before colonisation. John Heath has been researching Thomas Dick's work over the past decades, based on the fact that he discovered several members of his family among the Aborigines depicted. Dick's photographs show anonymous people, John Heath gave them back their names in his lecture, told their life stories and about their descendants, thus giving them the respect they deserve. A lively dialogue started between staged history and contemporary Australian realities. Among many other things, it was learned that the last massacre of Australian Aborigines took place less than 100 years ago (1929) Documenta 14 curator, Pierre Bal-Blanc, led through the thoroughly exciting and moving evening on 15 September with around 75 visitors.
Arbeitsgemeinschaft Friedhof und Denkmal e.V.
Zentralinstitut für Sepulkralkultur
Museum für Sepulkralkultur
D-34117 Kassel | Germany
Tel. +49 (0)561 918 93-0