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Documenta 15 to go ahead as planned in 2022 despite pandemic hurdles

After weighing postponement, the Kassel exhibition’s shareholders say decision to stick to timetable was “not easy”

The Indonesian artists’ collective ruangrupa will curate Doceumenta 15 in 2022 Photo: © Nicolas Wefers

The shareholders of Documenta, the influential contemporary art show mounted every five years in the German city of Kassel, announced today that the 15th edition will take place as planned from 18 June to 25 September 2022 despite the pandemic.

The shareholders—the city of Kassel and state of Hesse—weighed postponing the exhibition by a year because of planning difficulties caused by travel restrictions. “But a postponement seemed to be the wrong signal,” said Angela Dorn, the culture minister for the state of Hesse. “Like every Documenta, this one will also be a reflection of its time.”

The state and city agreed to sustain extra costs caused by pandemic requirements that may still be in place, such as social distancing measures and facilities for coronavirus testing. They also anticipate lower visitor numbers and, therefore, less revenue from ticket sales.

Sabine Schormann, the general director of Documenta, said the exhibition’s team has taken the pandemic into account in its planning, choosing large and outdoor venues and ensuring visitors can be directed along one-way routes.

Ticket sales for Documenta 15, which is to be curated by the Indonesian artists’ collective ruangrupa, will begin at the end of September this year. Ade Darmawan, a member of ruangrupa, said the group has so far selected 53 artists and will announce their choices in September.

“Like almost everyone in the last year and a half, we have been forced to work, collaborate, and make decisions largely through digital exchange,” he said.