Paths, routes, and parcours cross and intertwine, as visitors consider the pathways taken by peripatetic thinkers as a point of departure for a reflection on the act of walking. Joining a member of the documenta 14 Chorus, visitors can create their own lines of inquiry, questioning and entering into dialogue as they unravel and unfold documenta 14 together.

Historically, the chorus of Greek tragic theater was made up of nonprofessionals and citizens who served as commentators, shape-shifters, and empathizers between the audience and the actors. The Chorus for documenta 14, meanwhile, enacts a multiplicity of roles with visitors to the exhibition, drawing out broader perspectives related to the sociopolitical and geographical contexts of the documenta 14 project. Visitors thus become contributors to the life of documenta 14—negotiating routes and responses to artworks alongside one another. The documenta 14 Chorus creates a chorality that continues to resonate with mythologies, stories, debates, and rumors beyond the realm of the exhibition.

Walks in Athens

Walk: EMST, National Museum Of Contemporary Art

The architects of the National Museum of Contemporary Art, Athens (EMST), Takis Zenetos and Margaritis Apostolidis, developed a flexible design capable of adapting to future uses and different circumstances. The building’s original function as a brewery for “Fix” beer with its now silenced machines, is replaced by the documenta 14 Chorus, a multitude of voices and bodies drawn together for listening and dialogue, while experiencing the works of documenta 14. The Chorus of documenta 14 open up lines of inquiry and weaves connecting threads between the large number of artists exhibited.

Walk: Athens School of Fine Arts (ASFA)—Pireos Street

The exhibition hall of the Athens School of Fine Art provides a fitting setting for exploring notions of experimental education and pedagogy, such as the “open form” or “open city.” Encompassing the garden as a space for learning, the walks with the Chorus take on a reflective nature. Among the garden’s student-made sculptures, rose bushes, pomegranate, and fig trees is a walnut tree called the Otto Tree, named after the King of Greece who brought it from Bavaria.

Walk: Athens Conservatoire (Odeion Athinon)

The walks explore the relationship between score, voice, sound, and performance as found in the practices of documenta 14 artists. The walks focus on contemporary artists who are interested in the intersection of movement, rhythm, music, and performance. They employ scores and musical instruments that are deeply engaged with everyday life and social reality. How do we read scores collectively and interact in the face of displacement and unrelenting instability? How can the human voice express an object’s ancestry and its sound vibrations?

Walks in Kassel

Walk 1: Fridericianum

The exhibition at the Fridericianum in Kassel marks the first presentation of the collection of EMST–National Museum of Contemporary Art, Athens. EMST is one of the central venues of documenta 14 in Athens. Its relatively new collection (started in 2000) now includes more than 1,100 works of art by Greek and international artists from the 1960s onward. This presentation considers the EMST collection vis-à-vis the history of the Fridericianum—the birthplace of documenta and the first public museum on mainland Europe—offering new histories while challenging prevailing ideas. The result is a commentary on the complex history of modern Greece and a new interpretation of the traditional heart of documenta.

Walk 2: documenta Halle to Friedrichsplatz

When inaugurating the building for documenta 9 in 1992, artistic director Jan Hoet compared the documenta Halle to the Acropolis, as a means of fostering pride among the citizens of Kassel about of this recent addition to the city. Now, twenty-five years later, the Parthenon of Books by Marta Minujín stands opposite documenta Halle and serves as a monument against censorship and for the freedom of thought. In the documenta Halle an ensemble of works is on view that deals with various concepts of the score and musical notation and also the act of performance. In this walk, the Chorus takes inspiration from the architectural layout of the building in considering the movements of the body, walking, rhythm, and voice.

Walk 3: Neue Neue Galerie to Gottschalkhalle

The brutalist Neue Hauptpost, renamed the Neue Neue Galerie by documenta 14, was inaugurated in 1975 as Kassel’s main post office and mail distribution center. Many of the artists shown here address the route between Kassel and Athens as line of departure and arrival. The art on view explores the labor of dissemination—by mail, on horseback, and through bodies or rituals.

Departing from the Neue Neue Galerie, the walk heads towards the Gottschalk-Halle, a location that used to belong to two of the city’s most prominent industrial dynasties, the Henschel company and Gottschalk & Co. While various artworks on view echo the different histories of the Gottschalk-Halle, the venue also brings together artists whose work deals with issues of displacement and migration.

Walk 4: Neue Galerie to Palais Bellevue

Questions of nationhood and belonging as well as dispersal and loss predominate in the presentation at Neue Galerie, which effectively operates as the site of documenta 14’s memory. This is where the legacy of Arnold Bode, the founder of the first documenta in 1955, is invoked and debated.

The story of the Gurlitt estate is one of the Neue Galerie’s primary structuring themes. It raises questions about the nature of art produced under conditions of totalitarian control and about the museum’s relationship to the history of colonial conquest. At the core of the exhibition at this venue are the issues of looting, ownership, and dispossession and also the interwoven relationship between art, politics, and economics.

Inside the Palais Bellevue, which faces the Neue Galerie, memories of violent conflict shape the constellation of works and form a pointed contrast to the idyllic landscape and surroundings that give the building its “beautiful view.”