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documenta. Politics and Art

documenta reflects the history of the Federal Republic. Following its creation in 1955, this major international exhibition became a place where West German identity was renegotiated. Central to its context were the reappraisal of National Socialism and the formation of the Cold War blocs. From the very beginning, progressive and regressive political currents could be found there, side by side.

Every four years (later five years) from 1955 onward, the organisers of documenta have sought to offer an insight into current trends in art – to document the spirit of the time. For the first time, the DHM will place the history of documenta in the context of the political, cultural and societal development of the Federal Republic of Germany during the second half of the twentieth century. We will be showing works of art, films, documents, posters and other cultural items that illustrate the diversity of interaction between politics and art. These will be complemented by oral history interviews in which documenta participants talk of their experiences.

Another exhibition will run in parallel: 'Divinely Gifted'. National Socialism's Favoured Artists in the Federal Republic. For this exhibition, the continuity of National Socialist art after 1945 has been comprehensively researched for the first time. In both exhibitions, the focus of interest lies on the interplay between politics and art. The investigation of this relationship opens up a new perspective on the history of the Federal Republic in its international context.

The exhibition is being put together by Dr. Lars Bang Larsen, Dr. Alexia Pooth, Prof. Dr. Julia Voss and Prof. Dr. Dorothee Wierling under the project management of Dorlis Blume.