Documenta artworks in Kassel

15 Jan 2024
Although the Documenta circus packs up and leaves Kassel every time at the end of its 100 days, each edition changes the city and leaves it with something. Artworks from previous exhibitions have been embraced by Kassel's inhabitants.
"7000 Eichen", Joseph Beuys, Kassel © Kassel Marketing GmbH, Paavo Blåfield

Best known is perhaps Joseph Beuys' 7000 oaks project from 1982; which saw 7000 stone pillars placed next to newly planted trees, now seen across Kassel, a much greener city thanks to Beuys who raised a large part of the required funds himself. The last tree was finally planted beside the first one, in front of the Fridericianum, in 1987.

At night, Horst Baumann's Laserscape installation from 1977 is visible across the city: strong green and red laser beams shoot from the Fridericianum towards the Bergpark and several other important Kassel sights.

In the same year, Walter de Maria had a kilometre-deep well drilled in front of the Fridericianum and filled it with brass rods; the Virtual Earth Kilometre can only be recognised as a small piece of metal in the pavement; the conceptual artwork below exists mainly in your mind.
The pickaxe thrown by Hercules @ Kassel Marketing GmbH

Near the Orangerie, at the spot where the Wilhelmshöher Allee axis meets the Fulda, an oversized pickaxe sticks out from the grassy riverbank as if it were tossed there by Hercules, perched on his Bergpark viewpoint at the other end of the axis; this is Claes Oldenburg's Spitzhacke project from 1982.

Other artworks to look out for are Jonathan Burowsky's 1992 Man walking to the sky in front of the Hauptbahnhof station, Thomas Schütte's 1992 Die Fremden statues ('strangers') overlooking Friedrichsplatz, and Haus Rucker's 1977 Rahmenbau slide frame beside the Documenta-Halle.


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