The first documenta was created in 1955 by Kassel painter and academy professor Arnold Bode, making it one of the longest running international art events.
The exhibition, which was launched as the accompanying program to the Bundesgartenschau -German Federal Horticultural Show- that was held in Kassel that year, took an historical and documentary/reconstructive approach. It showed the development of the major artistic groups since the beginning of the century: Fauvism, Expressionism, Cubism, Blauer Reiter, Futurism and Pittura Metafisica. Pre-War Modernism was deliberately displayed in all its European ramifications. Bode highlighted the works in the ruins of the Museums Fridericianum, today still the main building for documenta.
Alongside Venice’s Biennale, documenta is seen as the most important, regularly occurring exhibition for modern and contemporary art in the world. It has reflected the common notion of a centralised art world, as for many years only European and American artists were represented. After the period of Nazi dictatorship, it was intended to reconcile German public life with international modernity and also confront it with its own failed Enlightenment.Read More
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