Surprise and subversion of the spectator expectations. The vision of Adam Szymczyk,Artistic Director of documenta 14, starts to unravel, calling the public to “unlearn what they know”. On April 8, documenta 14 opens its exhibition in Athens. Extending over the city in more than 40 different public institutions, squares, cinemas, university locations, and libraries, over 160 international artists will show works newly conceived for documenta 14. The exhibition will take place in Athens till July 16 and in Kassel, Germany, from June 10 to September 17.

For the first time, the prestigious contemporary art exhibition with a sharp political profile opens in a city other than Kassel, where it has been held every five years since 1955. “Learning from Athens” is the title of documenta 14. “What did we learn from Athens? That we all must abandon our prejudices and plunge into the darkness of not knowing. We started with these steps three years ago, preparing documenta 14 in Athens and we got here, at the opening,” Adam Szymczyk said at a press conference in Athens on Thursday, April 6, which was attended by more than 2.000 journalists , artists, curators and collectors from around the world.

The program starts with the official opening at the National Museum of Contemporary Art (EMST) on Saturday, by German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, following an invitation by President Prokopis Pavlopoulos.

BeauAmong the events of documenta 14 inauguration week program is the music performance of Henryk Górecki, Symphony No. 3, Op. 36, Symphony of Sorrowful Song, by Ross Birrell and David Harding, with Athens State Orchestra and Syrian Expat Philharmonic Orchestra (SEPO) at the Athens Concert Hall (20.30). The music performance is a co-production of documenta 14, The Athens State Orchestra, and the Athens Concert Hall and part of the event’s proceeds will benefit the initiative of the Athens State Orchestra’s “Pink Box” for refugee children as well as the programs of Doctors Without Borders (MSF) for refugees both within and beyond Greek borders. Szymczyk emphasized, on the occasion of this performance the feelings of loss, separation and despair that parents and children undergo in times of war.

The performance of Jani Christou’ s Epicycle, 1968–2017, part of which was performed by the organizational team of documenta 14 to open the Press Conference, will take place Saturday morning at theAthens Conservatoire (ΩA.2) and all other venues, while a performance by Nikhil Chopra titled “Drawing a Line through Landscape” will be held at Archimedous Street 15 (Moschato) and will continue on Sunday.

On Sunday noon (April 9), the much-talked-about cavalcade “Athens–Kassel Ride: The Transit of Hermes” by Ross Birrell will start on Dionysiou Aeropagitou str. 

Read also: Interview of German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, documenta 14 Starts Gradually Unveiling, Documenta 14: Learning From AthensArts in Greece | Katerina Koskina on the need for cultural dialogue & EMST’s role as an arts capsule for the city branding of AthensEMST: “Urgent Conversations Athens – Antwerp”