Sunday, November 27, 2022

"Art Meets Art" at Documenta Fifteen

DOEprojekts Art Collaborative (Deborah Adams Doering and Glenn N. Doering) are pleased and privileged to have participated in Documenta 15 "Art Meets Art" events in Kassel, Germany, during Summer 2022.

Every five years, the German city of Kassel is host to a "Documenta" international art exhibition. The exhibition was initiated by artist, educator, and curator, Arnold Bode, in 1955; Bode wanted to showcase art works which had been labeled "Entartete Kunst" (Degenerate Art) by the Nazis. Bode reportedly titled the exhibition "documenta" because docere is Latin for 'teach' and mens is Latin for 'intellect.' The exhibition focuses on "learning through art" rather than the commerce of art.

The works for each Documenta exhibition are usually selected by an individual curator. But Documenta 15 was the first to be led by an artist collaborative. "Ruangrupa" is based in Jakarta, Indonesia. More about this art group, and how they came to their theme of "lumbung" (the sharing of rice in a communal location) can be found at

Ten years ago, our art collaborative, DOEprojekts, and the Keiskamma Art Project, South Africa, were part of a "satellite project" during Documenta 13. We spent 100 days working together in Kassel's Amtsgericht (Offices of Justice). Our project is thoroughly documented in the 2012 entries in this blog. Above is one photo from 2012 that shows Deborah Adams Doering, Glenn N. Doering, Veronica Betani, and Cebo Mvubu all speaking with Lori Waxman, art critic, looking at our work. Below are two photos that show the embroidery and stencils that were products of our collaboration.

It was a delight, once again, to meet with people in Kassel who supported our collaborative art action "Just Us at Work." 

Our friend Silke Emde met us in the Welcome Area at the RuruHaus; we spent the day together viewing many of the installations throughout the city.

Friends Axel Goeppert and Luba Streck joined us at the "Poem of Pearls" by the artist Birthe Blauth in the Elisabethkirche (Elisabeth Church). At the entrance of the installation, visitors walked a labyrinth. In the interior of the installation, all participants were invited to take a genuine pearl from a central bowl located in the middle of the sanctuary, that was carpeted in grass.

DOEprojekts participated beyond the "Art Meets Art" events at Documenta 15. We used our "Hybr Squares" (3-D) as an intervention on the Kassel Hauptbahnhof, where several other artists had created temporary works. Above: "Hybr Squares Standing," our sculpture in "Horizontal Newspaper," documenta fifteen Edition (Kassel), 2022, designed and initiated by Dan Perjovschi.

Above: "Hybr Squares Horizontal," temporary sculpture in "Horizontal Newspaper," documenta fifteen Edition (Kassel), 2022.

Above: "Here There," temporary sculpture in "Horizontal Newspaper," documenta fifteen Edition (Kassel), 2022. Public Space Drawing.

DOEprojekts participated in the Kassel East Urban Parcours, walking the 5-km route which featured many local businesses in Kassel (and also the Joseph Beuys Oak Trees, a social sculpture from Documenta 7 in 1982.)

Above: Kassel East Urban Parcours display at RuruHaus, with DOEprojekts' Hybr Square.

In the Documenta Halle, we participated in "Lumbung of Publishers," an area where art collaboratives could publish their Lumbung stories.

We also experimented with "Nang Yai" (story stencils) which traditionally depict gods and characters from the Ramayana epics -- and in Kassel, stories by the Brothers Grimm. The stencils on display were created by the Baan Noorg Collaborative from Thailand. Stencils and storytelling were featured in many parts of the Documenta Fifteen exhibition, including the following display in Kassel's Fridericianum:

Above: Handcut stencils from the Asia Art Archive, by Nilima Sheikh in collaboration with Sanjay Soni and the family of Vishnu Prasad Jadia from Mathura, 2000-2020.

We feel an aesthetic kinship with the stencilling cutting artists of Documenta Fifteen, and also with Ruangrupa's emphasis on art collaboration. Above: DOEprojekts' stencils.

We experienced so many wonderful events over the course of the week we spent at Documenta Fifteen -- we only wish we had had more time to experience even more! We were invited by one of the art collaborative members to join them in harvesting produce from their large garden, and then prepare a meal and eat it with them, but unfortunately we were leaving the next day for our Bauhaus residency. We look forward to attending Documenta Sixteen in 2027 when we hope to be invited to participate again.

We appreciate your interest and support of DOEprojekts!
Please follow us and "Like Us" on Social Media: