Westpavillon (Orangerie)

Westpavillon (Orangerie), photo: Mathias Völzke

The Orangerie was built by Karl I, Landgrave of Hesse-Kassel, at the beginning of the eighteenth century. It served him as both a summer house and a winter habitat for potted trees such as citrus and palms. During World War II, the building was bombed and left in ruins until a renovation project began in 1976. The completely restored Orangerie was reopened in 1992 as an astronomical museum with a planetarium.

In the building’s left wing, documenta 14 presents two new video works by Romuald Karmakar: Byzantion and Die Entstehung des Westens (both 2017) allude to events of enormous historical importance, the end of the Byzantine Empire and the fall of Constantinople, each a catalyst for the exploration and conquest of the New World at the beginning of the sixteenth century. Antonio Vega Macotela’s Mill of Blood (2017), a fully operational reconstruction of the minting machine built by Spanish colonizers in Peru and other locations in South America and operated by Indigenous and African slaves, offers a poignant reading of the Orangerie as an epitome of the European Enlightenment, and its discontents.

Posted in Public Exhibition

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