documenta’s hitherto undisputed position of the host will be abandoned for another role, that of a guest in Athens. The curatorial proposal, with the title Learning from Athens, endeavors to encompass a multitude of voices in, between, and beyond the two cities where documenta 14 will be situated, reaching beyond the European context from the vantage point of the Mediterranean metropolis Athens, where Africa, the Middle East, and Asia face each other.
The Norwegian artists in documenta14
documenta 14 will open during a time of uncertainty, economic, social and cultural. It also takes place during the largest mass migration of people in human history. In this context there is an urgent need to learn from one another, to rethink what it means to be a host and a guest, and more than ever, to create stable platforms for a diversity of marginal voices to speak.
Apart from the artist Andreas Angelidakis and musician Mette Henriette, documenta 14 is inviting two generations of artists—members of the Sámi artist group who helped develop the Sámi contemporary art movement in the 1970s along with a new generation of practitioners. The history of Sámi contemporary art represents one of the most significant and unique artistic developments in Norway.
Joar Nango is building a traveling theater and working in collaboration with a Roma theater company from Bucharest to create futuristic play(s) for it. The actors will be local Roma people in Athens and then in Kassel. The stage will be built in collaboration with one of the many trash-collector unions of Athens Additionally video projections from communities or sound from interviews will be embedded in the construction.
The futuristic play is investigating the utopian idea of a potential Roma and or indigenous borderless feminist-state. The play will be inspired by ideas and texts such as the Tsiganiada (a Roma equivalent to Don Quijote), Cem Romengo (an idea of a borderless Roma state with capital in Targu Jiu, Romania created in 1993 by Iulian Radulescu) or political Sámi CSV movement from late 70s in northern Scandinavia.
It will be developed with the Bucharest based Roma feminist theatre group Giuvlipen (Lead by Mihaela Drâgan and director Mihai Lukács) and the Sámi playwriter Sigbjørn Skåden from Sápmi in Norway. The play should be performed in smaller Roma communities in Athens.
Angelidakis’ project is an attempt to investigate the social, political and economic forces that shaped Athens as we see her today, by tracing her development back to the refugee crisis of 1923 and the migrant surge of the 1950s. The introduction of the concrete building technology, the invention of the system of Antiparochi and the notion of Afthereto become the key actors in a story about defying authority. The story is told in different media: The Demos for the public program of documenta 14, 3D prints, archival material, short films, spatial interventions. The films, 3D prints and archive consist as one installation, a space that blurs fact with fiction.
Hans Ragnar Mathisen
The artist is invited to exhibit his project of creating maps from a Sámi and Indigenous perspectives, a project that he has been invested in for over forty years. When Mathisen finished his first global view of Sápmi in 1975, a young generation of Sami was just beginning to call for more recognition and rights. Hans Ragnar will exhibit seven of his maps in Athens, Greece. This will be the first time that so many of these original documents will be on view for an international audience. This will also be a means to display how the maps are made: first with drawings of the land, its people, and animals with color pencil, then overlaid with sheets of transparency.
In the fall of 1977, Synnøve Persen produced her proposal, made as a silk-screen print at the Art Academy in Oslo where she yet was a student, for a Sami flag. Soon sewn up as an actual flag, Synnøve Persen's flag was used in various occasions at the time, and served to open up a conversation on the need of unifying symbols in the resistance movement and the struggle for political autonomy. Deeply involved in various activist contexts in the 1970's – and continuously since – Synnøve Persen's flag proposal suggest to be seen as an exceptional and particular encounter between an aesthetic discourse, where for example colour is explored through both metaphorical and physical/tactile dimensions, and an activist discourse, a blending of the sensible and the political.
The 1977 flag proposal by the artist is also the starting point for the new works that Synnøve Persen will contribute to d14. Attributing the title to Barnett Newman's influential series of paintings (a title already quoting another title quoting another), Synnøve Persen is executing a series of new paintings that return to the original flag proposal, repainting it, reinterpreting, revising, and, thus, bringing it to the present. As such, the new paintings do also embrace four decades of a painting practice that in dialogue with abstract expressionism and colour field painting has explored colour from the symbolic, referential, realist and phenomenological horizon of Finnmark and Sápmi. Moreover, it is not a coincidence that the Newman paintings explore the same three primary colours as in Synnøve Persen's flag.
The presentation in documenta 14 will include the new paintings by Synnøve Persen, the original silk-screen print of the flag from 1977, one sewn flag from the time, and a few historical documents of the use of the flag.
Pile o'Sápmi consists of 200 reindeer heads. It was first installed outside Inner Finnmark District Court under initial hearing for the case on the forced herd reduction. Pile o'Sápmi branched out in parallel to a resistance festival held in Tana, Norway the same week. The installation of Pile o'Sápmi and collaborations with other Sami artists, have highlighted discussions in the media about both the ongoing relationship between art and activism. The forced herd reduction is a vital matter for the reindeer, the herders, the future of reindeer herding as it undermines the general Sami rule of law.
The tenor saxophonist Mette Henriette is invited to perform in Listening Space. Listening Space is a documenta 14 project for concerts, performances, listening sessions and talks in Athens.
Listening Space is intended to act as a kind of sonic vessel for various concerns that emerge from the larger framework of the documenta 14 exhibition. Nevertheless, it will present distinct statements expressed through time and space. The project’s program will unfold regularly during the exhibition period, featuring concerts, spatial performances, listening sessions, and talks; its main venue will be a former print factory turned music space called Romantso/BIOS in the center of Athens, as well as other designated locations such as Megaron and Odeion. The Listening Space will locate music within the all-encompassing sonic vortex, and tries to understand it through tensions in the everyday, in which society and locale are as much a part of our collective and personal sonic experience as the production of music itself.
Within the Listening Space program the act of listening is ascribed a central role and will function as a flexible tool to reveal the underlying mechanisms of music, our perception of it, and its relationship to our surroundings. In this way the project seeks sonic conditions that go beyond sounds’ aural signification, instead illuminating how its physical, social, and political dimensions can be performed and heard. Performances and settings may take principle structural cues from architectural modifications, visual barriers, speaker configurations, natural sound environments, listening instructions, or spatial choreographies as a way to conceive of sound outside of the established hierarchies of music production and performance. Listening then becomes as much an active part of the event as the music itself, emphasizing what often remain unconsidered sonic values. The project is as much a designated space for unprecedented sonic experiences as it is an exercise in listening to space itself, wherever and whatever that may be.
documenta 14 will present loans of the work of this influential artist. Iver Jåks (1932 – 2007) was a Sami Norwegian artist, born in Karasjok. He often used elements of Sami culture and mythology in his artistic works. He is represented at the National Gallery of Norway, at Nordnorsk Kunstmuseum, and other museums. He was decorated Knight, First Order of the Royal Norwegian Order of St. Olav in 2002. Among his awards are the Arts Council Norway Honorary Award, the Norwegian Sami Association's honorary prize and the Saami Council's honorary prize.