Former Underground Train Station (KulturBahnhof)

Former Underground Rail Station (KulturBahnhof), photo: Mathias Völzke

documenta 14 in Kassel might begin underground. Envisioned as the visitor’s point of entry into the exhibition, the decommissioned tunnel at the KulturBahnhof (formerly Kassel’s main rail station) saw its last train pass through in 2005 after nearly forty years of service. It had opened in 1968, the year of documenta founder Arnold Bode’s fourth and last documenta, to accommodate the increasing local train traffic to and from Kassel. The lower level suggests a point of transit—in this case, of artworks that have perhaps just arrived or are about to depart. The upper level, a former shopping arcade with the remains of a vandalized Kassel city plan rendered in colored glass by Dieter von Andrian (1925–1992), also functions as a threshold, across which the notion of learning and education is found to be continuously and necessarily in flux. Though a sense of desolation tinges the underground space, there is, literally, a light at the end of the tunnel: when emerging, visitors soon arrive at the main documenta 14 venues in Kassel’s Nordstadt.

Posted in Public Exhibition
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