8 June – 15 September 2002
Platform 5: Exhibition


Artistic Director

Okwui Enwezor


Museum Fridericianum, documenta-Halle, Kulturbahnhof / Balikino, Binding-Brauerei, Orangerie, Karlsaue, Kasseler Innenstadt / Nordstadt






18.075.420 Euro


Okwui Enwezor (2002)

Okwui Enwezor, a native of Nigeria, was the first non-European art director of documenta—and the first documenta of the new millennium was the first truly global, postcolonial documenta exhibition. “Documenta 11 rests on five platforms which aim to describe the present location of culture and its interfaces with other complex, global knowledge systems.” Thus the exhibition in Kassel was the fifth and last platform in the concept introduced by Okwui Enwezor and his curatorial team, composed of Carlos Basualdo, Ute Meta Bauer, Susanne Ghez, Sarat Maharaj, Mark Nash, and Octavio Zaya. Transdisciplinary “platforms” devoted to different themes were presented on four continents a full 98 2002 11 year in advance of the official opening: “Democracy Unrealized” (Vienna, March 15–April 20, 2001; Berlin, October 9–30, 2001), “Experiments with Truth: Transitional Justice and the Processes of Truth and Reconciliation” (New Delhi, May 7–21, 2001), “Créolité and Creolization” (St. Lucia, January 13–15, 2002), and “Under Siege: Four African Cities, Freetown, Johannesburg, Kinshasa, and Lagos (Lagos, March 16–20, 2002). Many of the works of art later presented at the exhibition took up these themes and other issues of global significance in different ways. In keeping with the premise that “Art Is the Production of Knowledge,” many of the projects were documentary in nature—yet fears that the show would be “overburdened with theory” (a prejudicial assumption that had already been proved false at documenta 10) turned out to be unjustified. The most noteworthy achievements of documenta 11, as Wolfgang Lenk wrote in his essay, consisted in its questioning of the “unspoken hierarchies of attention in the Western exhibition scene,” its denial of the legitimacy of the “West’s exoticizing view of ‘the foreign,’ and the confrontation of that perception with those artistic activities that conflict with our projection. … The ‘foreigners’ were once the object of our gaze—now they are looking back.” The shift of perspective for which Catherine David paved the way in 1992 was now finally accomplished.

Craigie Horsfield, El Hierro Conversation (2002)
Photo: Ryszard Kasiewicz © documenta Archiv

While space in documenta Halle was devoted primarily to artists’ collectives and archive-based projects (Fareed Armaly’s and Rashid Masharawi’s visual review of Palestinian history entitled From/To [1999], the Huit Facets group from Senegal, Le Groupe Amos from the Congo, Raqs Media Collective from Delhi, and Meschac Gaba with the Library from his Museum of Contemporary African Art [2002]), the works of art shown in the Fridericianum and the new venue at the Binding brewery were staged on a generous scale. Nearly every work of art occupied a room of its own. Video projections (Steve McQueen, Yang Fudong) and expansive installations predominated, the latter represented by such works as Georges Adéagbo’s L’explorateur et les explorateurs devant l’histoire d’exploration…! Le théatre du monde (2002), an assemblage of objects created at the exhibition site; Chohreh Feyzdjou’s Boutique (1973–93), and the rooms dedicated to Mona Hatoum, Alfredo Jaar, and Dieter Roth. The juxtaposition of Doris Salcedo’s chairs covered with heavy layers of lead and Leon Golub’s torture scenes painted on scraps of canvas evoked a particularly disturbing, oppressive effect. Exhibited in the next room was Zarina Bhimji’s visually powerful video Out of the Blue (2002), which featured images of abandoned military barracks, detention cells, and prison rooms in a tropical landscape captured in slow camera sequences. These images of desolation were accompanied by a swelling backdrop of sound composed of excited voices and shots—an audiovisual re-creation of the artist’s own memories. At the age of nine, Bhimji and her family were forcibly driven out of Uganda along with other Asian immigrants. Prominently displayed on the ground floor of the Fridericianum, these three works served as striking reminders of experiences with state-sanctioned violence—an effect that was also evoked by Tania Bruguera’s performance installation Untitled (2002), in the Binding brewery. Visitors there were exposed to total darkness and glaring light in alternation and thus—robbed of the ability to see—heard only noises, like the sounds of stamping military boots and rifles being assembled. Outside the Fridericianum, Cildo Meireles’s mobile ice-cream vendors distributed popsicles that had no flavor at all, as they were made of nothing but frozen water. The title of this work, Disappearing Element / Disappeared Element (Imminent Past) (2002) alluded to the increasingly real shortage of water in many parts of the world.

Binding Brauerei (2002)
Photo: Werner Maschmann

Jeff Wall, After Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man, the Preface (2002)
Photo: Ryszard Kasiewicz © documenta Archiv

On Kawara, One Million Years (2001)
Photo: Ryszard Kasiewicz © documenta Archiv

Park Fiction, Park Fiction Archive(2002)
Photo: Ryszard Kasiewicz

Shirin Neshat, Tooba (2002)
Photo: Ryszard Kasiewicz

Yinka Shonibare, Gallantery and Criminal Conversation (2002)

Andreas Siekmann, Aus: Gesellschaft mit beschränkter Haftung (1996-2001)
Photo: Ryszard Kasiewicz © documenta Archiv

The works installed in the Auepark also referred to complex issues far beyond the context of their sculptural appeal. They included Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster’s Sculpture Park consisting of a telephone booth from Brazil; a rosebush from Le Corbusier’s rose garden in Chandigarh, India; a lava stone from Mexico; and other objects, all of which combined to form an associative reference system of cultural symbols. Also presented in the park was Renée Green’s Standardized Octagonal Units for Imagined and Existing Systems (2002), an open-air pavilion consisting of eight units in which audiovisual material on such seemingly disparate subjects as the alphabet, Africa, color, island, food, woman, man, gender, etc., was presented.

In a social-housing estate in the heart of Kassel’s Nordstadt, a socially deprived area of the city, Thomas Hirschhorn erected his Bataille Monument (2002). Built with cheap materials in cooperation with local youth, this archive devoted to the French thinker, an advocate of unrestricted consumption and a critic of utilitarianism, was open to the public—an experiment poised between success and failure that, by virtue of the various issues it addressed, exposed the persistently troublesome dialogue between contemporary art and the so-called lower class of society.

Thomas Hirschhorn, Bataille Monument (2002) © Thomas Hirschhorn/VG Bild-Kunst
Photo: Ryszard Kasiewicz

Participating Artists


  • Adéagbo, Georges
  • Agarwal, Ravi
  • Ahtila, Eija-Liisa (Athila, Eija-Liisa)
  • Akerman, Chantal
  • Ancelovici, Gaston A.
  • Armaly, Fareed
  • Ashkin, Michael
  • Asymptote (Asymptote Architecture)
  • Ataman, Kutlug
  • Atlas Group (The Atlas Group)


  • Bargmann, Julie & Stacy Levy
  • Barrio, Artur (Barrio, Arthur)
  • Becher, Bernd & Hilla (Becher, Bernhard und Hilla)
  • Bhimji, Zarina
  • Black Audio Film Collective
  • Bock, John
  • Bonk, Ecke
  • Bouabré, Frédéric Bruly (Bruly Bouabré, Frédéric)
  • Bourgeois, Louise
  • Braila, Pavel
  • Brouwn, Stanley
  • Bruguera, Tania (Bruguera Fernandez, Tania)


  • Camnitzer, Luis
  • Coleman, James
  • Constant (Nieuwenhuys, Constant A.)


  • Darboven, Hanne
  • Deacon, Destiny
  • Douglas, Stan


  • Edefalk, Cecilia
  • Eggleston, William
  • Eichhorn, Maria
  • Ennadre, Touhami
  • Evans, Cerith Wyn (Wyn Evans, Cerith)


  • Feng Mengbo (Feng, Mengbo & Mengbo, Feng)
  • Feyzdjou, Chohreh
  • Friedman, Yona (Friedmann, Yona)


  • Gaba, Meschac
  • Gabellone, Giuseppe
  • Garaicoa, Carlos (Garaicoa Manso, Carlos)
  • Geers, Kendell
  • Genzken, Isa
  • Geys, Jef
  • Goldblatt, David
  • Golub, Leon
  • Gonzalez-Foerster, Dominique (Foerster, Dominique Gonzalez-)
  • Green, Renée
  • Grippo, Victor


  • Haaning, Jens
  • Hatoum, Mona
  • Höfer, Candida
  • Hirschhorn, Thomas
  • Horsfield, Craigie
  • Huit Facettes
  • Huyghe, Pierre


  • Igloolik Isuma Productions
  • Ivekovic, Sanja


  • Jaar, Alfredo
  • Jonas, Joan
  • Julien, Isaac


  • Kanwar, Amar
  • Kawara, On (On Kawara)
  • Kentridge, William
  • Keuken, Johan van der (Van der Keuken, Johan)
  • Kingelez, Bodys Isek (Isek Kingelez, Bodys)
  • Kinmont, Ben
  • Kožarić, Ivan
  • Kopystiansky, Igor & Svetlana
  • Kulunčić, Andreja


  • Le Groupe Amos (Groupe Amos & Amos, Le Group)
  • Ligon, Glenn
  • Lum, Ken


  • Manders, Mark
  • Marcaccio, Fabian
  • McQueen, Steve
  • Meireles, Cildo
  • Mekas, Jonas
  • Messager, Annette
  • Miyamoto, Ryuji
  • Mofokeng, Santu
  • Multiplicity
  • Muñoz, Juan


  • Neshat, Shirin


  • Orozco, Gabriel
  • Osifuye, Olumuyiwa Olamide (Olamide Osifuye, Olumuyiwa)
  • Ottinger, Ulrike
  • Ouattara Watts (Watts, Ouattara)


  • Park Fiction
  • Pernice, Manfred
  • Pettibon, Raymond
  • Piper, Adrian
  • Ponger, Lisl
  • Portabella, Pere


  • Raqs Media Collective
  • Riera, Alejandra with Doina Petrescu
  • Roth, Dieter (Rot, Diter)


  • Salcedo, Doris
  • Samadian, Seifollah
  • Saussier, Gilles
  • Sekula, Allan
  • Shonibare, Yinka
  • Siekmann, Andreas
  • Simparch
  • Simpson, Lorna
  • Sivan, Eyal
  • Small, David (Small, David L.)


  • Tan, Fiona
  • Tayou, Pascale Marthine
  • Teno, Jean-Marie
  • Trinh T. Minh-ha (Minh-ha, Trinh T.)
  • Tuerlinckx, Joëlle
  • Tuymans, Luc


  • Urbonas, Nomeda & Gediminas


  • Wall, Jeff
  • Ward, Nari
  • Watts, George Frederick (Watts, George Frederic & Watts, G. F. & Watts, George F.)


  • Yang, Fudong (Yang Fudong & Fudong, Yang)

Artistic Director
Okwui Enwezor

Born in 1963 in Calabar, Nigeria



Studied political science, Jersey City State College, New Jersey, USA


First publication of poetry


Cofounder of the magazine NKA: Journal of Contemporary African Art, with Chika Okeke-Agulu and Salah Hassan


Artistic Director of the Johannesburg Biennial, Johannesburg


Artistic Director of documenta 11, Kassel


Artistic Director of the Biennial in Seville, Spain


Artistic Director of the Gwangju Bienniel, Gwangju, South Korea

seit 2011

Director, Haus der Kunst, Munich


Kurator der La Triennale, Paris


Artistic Director of the 56th Biennale di Venezia, Venice


Selected exhibitions:


In/Sight: African Photographers, 1940 to the present, Guggenheim Museum, New York


Global Conceptualism, Queens Museum, New York; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis


Mirror’s Edge, Bildmuseet Umeå, Umeå, Schweden


Century City, Tate Modern, London


documenta 11, Kassel


Archive Fever: Uses of the Document in Contemporary Art, International Center of Photography, New York


Snap Judgments: New Positions in African Photography, International Center fo Photography, New York


Aufstieg und Fall der Apartheid: Fotografie und Bürokratie des täglichen Lebens, Haus der Kunst, München


Ai Weiwei: So Sorry, Haus der Kunst, München


Awards (selection):


Received the Timehri Award for Leadership in the Arts


Awarded the Grand Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany


Awarded the Hessian Culture Prize for his work as Artistic Director of documenta 11


Ravi Agarwal