A war against forgetting - on a plane returning from Documenta14 and I can't remember where I picked this up from but it has felt like that from the first day in Kassel to the last. The role of the artist at Documenta14 is firmly one of pointing stuff out that is going on in the world - almost all of it bad, in fact actually all the work has acted as a form of testimony, the artist performing duties on the front line and reporting back. Sergio Zevallos - A War Machine examined and repurposed the use of eugenics on the evil people of the world, including various bankers, despots from Golden Lion and Theresa May. This display used measuring devices and various display tools and diagrams to create a number shrunken heads that sum up evilness. http://www.documenta14.de/en/artists/948/sergio-zevallos On the historical front pieces like the body of work by Marilou Schultz highlighted a protest of American Sioux indians, connecting weaving skills, land rights, capitalist corporations and the computer chip. http://www.documenta14.de/en/artists/22610/marilou-schultz Treading a middle ground, using both archive and the new, a work by Maria Eichhorn Some of the places where Jews were robbed in combination with Sarah Gensburger's book Witnessing the robbing of the Jews was just astounding. The piece highlighted the archive work around the appropriation and repatriation of books from individual and national libraries - just stunning. http://www.rosevallandinstitut.org/documenta14_en.html
Other highlights include Prinz Gholam - speaking of pictures explores images of the body, poses and statues. Koken Ergun - I soldier - a video of a rally - presenting the preposterous poverty of military aspiration. http://www.vdb.org/titles/ben-askerim-i-soldier George Hadjimichalis piece - crossroad crossroad where Oedipus Killed Laius, images and film of a landscape created from a huge metal sheet covered in black pigment and resin. http://www.documenta14.de/en/artists/22262/george-hadjimichalis Allan Sekula - middle passage 3 - a documentary piece that presents elements of the ship building and fishing industry. Britta Marakatt-Labba stitched piece of Finish history - a kind of cooler better designed Bayeux Tapestry. Thanassis Totsikas - silent journey - a stoic man carries a stoic man on his back as if a donkey through a wood. Nikos Navridis - looking for a place - extraordinary film of balloons and masks and masks as balloons. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JJDW6Lpsfe8
Andreas Angelidakis - walking buildings - a video deconstructing ideas around artists using decommissioned buildings. Bill Viola - the raft - with all its connotations. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ypdZ_7xw79Y The spare and stunningly moving film I had nowhere to go by Douglas Gordon. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=63vYnf3ap7E
One of the true delights of a festival of this nature is access to spaces usually unavailable to the general public; a former underground station, factories, offices and a flat were all explored as well as the more formal spaces of museums where the work is interestingly contextualised by the collection.
Just remembered where the words A war against forgetting comes from, it was in the excellent film by Naeem Mohaiemen Two meetings and a Funeral, re-presenting the many issues around the nonaligned nations in the 70s at various congresses' and the subsequent interference in the nation states by factions within and associated with America. The past is a foreign country. http://sharjahart.org/sharjah-art-foundation/projects/two-meetings-and-a-funeral