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Sonja van Kerkhoff

   visual artist, video, installations,
performance, websites, The Netherlands.

Miracles of Vision, 2001     Documenta, 1997     Oerol, 1996

Still from the film, Berlin or a Dream with Cream
by Marcel Broodthaers (1924-1976, Belgium).

There was a broad representation of the Belgian Marcel Broodthaers' work, with photos, slide projections and a video interview with the artist, so the visitor felt welcome to explore his world. Unfortunately it was situated by an entrance, so it was not physically possible to pause for a work that had a lot to offer. For me, his work was one of a handful that really fitted David's theme of the poetic and political. Broodthaers' 'museum of eagles' was poeticising and politicising, through his tongue-in-cheek use of popular images.

Outside / Inside - Documenta

100 day exhibition of contemporary art in Kassel, Germany.

lt seemed as if the evening lectures that occured for the 100 days of the 10th Documenta were what the French curator, Catherine David, decided was the focus, and that everything else was either subdued or of little consequence.

Documenta is a five yearly art event-exhibition that began in Kassel in 1955 in an otherwise uninteresting industrialised city in central-west Germany (The Ruhr area).

David said in various television and newspaper interviews that she was presenting a different position between politics and aesthetics than one of entertainment or show.

Reading this excited me, but the positioning of the words, "poetics" and "politics" above one another as David did for the cover of the catalogue, while a nice concept, in itself, was not enough.

Over the days, it was rare to find some resonance in the exhibition itself. On the whole, the art by the 250 or so artists didn't match the calibre of the lectures and I felt annoyed because there are artists of calibre who do address many of the issues raised in the lectures and in the 830 page catalogue. What was her critera for her choice or artists or their work? My problem was that I couldn't find any, not that she needed an obvious one. But because I was so disappointed by the works I encountered, I started looking for some point in, say, the room after room of small black and white journalistic images from the '60s and '70s.


A locked cabinet by Lois Weinberger (b.1947, works in Vienna, Austria).

There was a map of Kassel on the door but you had to read the Documenta short guide to realise that these cabinets contained seeds collected from the streets of Kassel and despite being informed in the short guide, that you could collect a key from the documenta office to open them, the office didn't know what I was talking about when I asked for the key.

David's Parcous, showing that the exhibtion started at the station leading the viewer a direct route (about 3 or 4 blocks) through the Friedrichsplatz to the Orangerie.

....MORE TO COME....

Excerpts from Arts Dialogue, pages ..., March 1998.

Arts Dialogue, Dintel 20, NL 7333 MC, Apeldoorn, The Netherlands