How can I improve my artist sketches

Bode Center

Our long-time member Prof. Klaus Pfromm was just as committed to the LaserMeter campaign as he was to the efforts to develop the documenta archive into a documenta center (Bode center). These efforts were given a boost when initiatives were started in 2008 and the archive of the curator Harald Szeemann was brought to Kassel. Szeemann had directed the documenta in 1972 and thereby established the professional profile of an exhibition maker.

The architect Klaus Pfromm knelt so much into the work that his ideas about a Bode center attained the quality of a study. Although marked by a deadly disease, he was able to complete the core of the study. His paper became the basis for planning and discussion for the urban-rural working group, which dealt with the Bode Center project. In memory of Pfromm's achievement, who died soon after, we document the contents of the study here. Unfortunately, there is still no chance of implementing the considerations.


The documenta is considered to be one of the most important and most highly regarded exhibitions of contemporary art worldwide. It was brought into being in 1955 by the artist and art educator Arnold Bode in Kassel. After the years of the National Socialist dictatorship, it was supposed to confront and reconcile the German public with international modernity and with its own failed Enlightenment. Nobody would have thought at the time that the exhibition, often referred to as the “Museum of 100 Days”, would be an unprecedented success - and yet the thirteenth documenta will take place in summer 2012. The singular character of the documenta is ensured: every five years a new artistic director is appointed and the exhibition is reinvented, as it were. Under a constantly changing direction, and at a leisurely and relentless rhythm of five years, the documenta has advanced to become a globally binding seismograph of contemporary art: The documenta shows whether art succeeds in capturing the world in pictures, and whether these Images have validity for their audience. A concept that has proven itself. Over 750,000 visitors were counted at documenta 12.

The project

After more than two years of discussion about the cultural development of Kassel, the documenta forum Kassel is taking the liberty of presenting a project that tries to secure and improve the structural conditions for documenta for its permanently successful work. In addition, the activities that deal with the documenta between the exhibition dates and, according to general consensus, give the documenta a permanent role in Kassel's cultural life and connect the city with its documenta to the outside world, should be given their place and their development opportunities here. Securing the documenta hall as an exhibition space for the documenta is just as important for this project. This is assumed here.

1 ideas paper Arnold Bode Centrum,, Kultur Netz, documenta forum,
2 This regulation should apply until a future location and the supply of appropriate office space for documenta GmbH, for offices of the Kunsthalle and for the documenta archive including extended archive rooms have been clarified or an alternative location for an acceptable inner-city cultural center has been found.

dock4 - usage program for the Bode Centrum:

• Administration of documenta GmbH
• Temporary documenta management
• Development staff documenta exhibition
• Exhibition pedagogy
• Documenta archive with Szeemann archive
• documenta academy
• Apartments for scholarship holders of the documenta academy, if possible.
• Art library
• Head of the Kunsthalle
• Joint information and service network: Kunstverein, 7000 Eichen Foundation, Arnold Bode Foundation, documeta forum
• Art café "chez Arnold"
• Joint workshops: Kunsthalle, documenta, documenta archive
• Storage, ancillary rooms

documenta GmbH

Documenta GmbH is the company with which the city of Kassel and the state of Hesse are realizing their documenta exhibition. In addition to holding the current exhibition, she also manages the art gallery and the documenta hall. Your organization must be very flexible: A relatively small team grows so enormously during the preparation of the exhibition that it has to take up additional work space. In the ever more extensive and demanding process of acquiring sponsors, nationally and internationally, more representative rooms are also required.

documenta management

During the four-year preparation and implementation phase, the documenta director works closely with the GmbH. This is your executive arm. Of course, the management also needs direct access to the Fridericianum. The demands on information acquisition, information exchange and Internet communication are becoming ever stronger, and the documenta archive plays an important role in this.

documenta expansion staff

At the beginning of the preparations for the exhibition, a small staff works like a dramaturgy to the management. In the course of time, more and more organizational and, above all, technical tasks are added in order to reach the peak of personnel and technology deployment in the weeks before the opening of the exhibition. Supervision services will then be added during the exhibition. After the 100 days, the whole thing has to be dismantled, shipped, archived and dismantled.

Exhibition pedagogy

To be explained in detail

documenta archive

The documenta archive in Kassel - founded in 1961 on the initiative of Arnold Bode - is an institution for the archiving, documentation and academic processing of modern and contemporary art with a focus on the history of the documenta. Due to the continuous expansion of its literature and media inventory, it is one of the most extensive documentation centers for the art of the 20th and the beginning of the 21st century in Europe. In addition to providing information on contemporary art, archiving the documenta files is one of his fundamental tasks. This includes: all correspondence that arose in preparation for the documenta exhibitions, work protocols of the respective artistic directors and artist materials including new media.

In addition to the systematic collection of written and visual media, the documenta archive is dedicated to the task of presenting the preserved evidence in documentation, exhibitions and research projects. This also includes the series of publications from the documenta archive. The services of the archive are primarily aimed at the following target groups: Kassel people interested in documenta and visitors to Kassel, art historians, students at the Kassel Art School and other universities, artists, journalists, international researchers, schoolchildren.

The documenta archive is an indispensable tool for the respective documenta construction team and also serves the work of the Kunsthalle Fridericianum and the Kasseler Kunstverein. Joint courses are often held with the Kunsthochschule Kassel; for their scientists it forms an important fund. The cooperation with the Neue Galerie has proven itself in various exhibition projects; the content of the project office / Foundation 7000 Eichen is directly linked to the documenta archive.

The UNESCO-awarded anniversary project “Resubmission d5” with an exhibition in the rooms of the Kunstverein in the building of the Kunsthalle Fridericianum, with a conference in the Evangelical Academy Hofgeismar, at which professors from the Kassel Art Academy and the documenta director of the d11 were involved Conversations in the Evangelical Forum and film screenings in the Bali cinema have shown that the archive acts as a focal point for fruitful and successful cooperation between documenta-oriented institutions. Such events, however, exceed the scope of duties of an archive as it is today, which is why the integration of the documenta archive into a planned Bode Centrum will be a next important goal: The Bode Centrum is intended to bundle the main mediation institutions for the world exhibition documenta and contemporary art in the urban space, their work can be made more efficient, more effective and more representative, and thus the documenta idea with the Kassel Center can be permanently experienced by a broader public, ie even in the years in which the documenta does not take place.

The digitization of the various endangered media of documenta 1-5 (photos, slides, videos, press cuttings), which began in 2006 as part of a project funded by the German Research Foundation, enables all materials to be made accessible online in the long term. A comfortable software will manage the integration of all cataloged media (books, newspaper clippings, photos, slides, videos). The KUR project approved by the Federal Cultural Foundation in 2008, which includes the conservation and restoration of the documenta videos, also focuses on the pressing issues of long-term archiving.

2011 is that 50th anniversary of the documenta archive.

Szeemann archive

The acquisition of the private archive of Harald Szeemann (born June 11, 1933 - February 18, 2005) in Maggia / Ticino in Switzerland is currently under negotiation. We assume that, as we try to justify in the following, the legacy of the famous curator of documenta 5 must and will definitely be brought to Kassel.

The curatorial work of Harald Szeemann was highly complex and cannot be seen as having just a single aspect. For me his exhibitions in Zurich - and above all Der Hang zum Gesamtkunstwerk (The Tendency towards the Total Work of Art, 1983), which I visited every day while still at school - were formative experiences. This was due in part to Szeemann’s notion of the exhibition as a toolbox, as an archeology of knowledge in the spirit of Michel Foucault. Whether he was showing Artaud, Gaudí, Schwitters, Steiner or contemporary artists, Szeemann accomplished the rare feat of bridging the gap between past and present. He tested out so many different modes of exhibiting, as well as curating many important solo shows: Beuys, Delacroix, De Maria, Duchamp, Merz, Nauman, Picabia, Serra ... The 1985 Mario Merz exhibition, in particular, made a particularly lasting impression : Merz and Szeemann removed all the walls inside the Kunsthaus and displayed the work as an open field, with Merz 'igloos shown in the resulting space as a visionary and Utopian city: La Città Irreale. _Szeemann also saw his exhibitions as an ‘archive in transformation’. To me this was just as representative of his approach as the fact that he worked simultaneously as an independent curator and curator of Kunsthaus Zürich. Another important facet of his career was the way he oscillated between large and small, private and public. After the 1972 Documenta in Kassel, for example, there was the exhibition dedicated to his grandfather, held in a private apartment in Bern, with no hierarchy between the larger and the smaller show - entirely in keeping with Robert Musil's observation that art can appear where one is least expecting it. Szeemann’s death is a major blow to the art world. Hans Ulrich Obrist

Harald Szeemann had a lasting influence on the documenta exhibition institution - documenta 5, 1972 is the most important of the entire series of exhibitions after documenta 1. Here and subsequently, Harald Szeemann defined the profession of the independent exhibition maker, the curator. His private archive can be integrated into the work order of the documenta archive. It expands the archive in a particularly interesting dimension. The curators' imaginary world of thought. The archives of other curators should definitely be objects of desire. This gives the archive another unique selling point of documenta and international exhibition history. With the acquisition of the Harald Szeemann Archive, the cultural profile of the city of Kassel would gain a source of international charisma and the highest reputation. Even during his lifetime, he regarded his archive as the epitome of what he called the “Museum of Obsessions” and was a much frequented contact point and study center for artists, curators and academics from all over the world. According to his ethos of making creativity potentials, creative intensities and utopias visible, Harald Szeemann developed over 200 author exhibitions in the ideas workshop of his archive. In addition to documenta 5 from 1972, these include “Art of the Mentally Ill” (1963), “When Attitudes Become Form (1969),“ Happening and Fluxus ”(1970),“ Bachelor Machines ”(1975),“ The Inclination to the Total Work of Art ”(1983 ), “Timeless” (1988) the Venice Biennials (1999) and (2001) or “Blood and Honey - Future is in the Balkans” (2003) and numerous others. The project “Resubmission d5” (2001), on which the documenta archive has already worked closely with Harald Szeemann and his archive, was able to show how important his reference is for future generations of artists and curators.

The Harald Szeemann Archive is located in an old factory building in Maggia, Ticino. The material inventory extends to approx. 400 square meters. Books, catalogs, magazines, correspondence, photos, press reviews, posters, notes, concept papers, manuscripts, but also literary writings written by himself (partly unpublished) are available. The artist and artwork photographs by the well-known photographer Balthasar Burckhard,. Photographed are (partly unpublished) works and actions by famous artists of the 2nd half of the 20th century, such as Joseph Beuys, Bruce Nauman, etc.) The archive-specific material bundles also contain original artist sketches and hand drawings as well as personal memorabilia. Tables, architectural models, self-drawn floor plans with the assignment of the artist and work names. The uniform wine boxes, which served as storage containers, are part of the memorial character of the Szeemann archive. Appropriate room arrangements are made here for the Szeemann archive. So that the archive can continue to be presented in its monolithic unit. Further legacies and private archives have already been announced to the documenta archive (Bazon Brock, René Block). Kassel has a specialized institutional profile, e.g. the Kunsthalle Fridericianum has initiated a curatorial school under the direction of René Block, while the Kassel Art College has made contemporary exhibition the subject of the professional qualifications of its graduates in the course of converting to Bachelor / Master courses. In order to achieve a synergetic effect of the existing Kassel cultural institutions, cooperation (e.g. also through the exchange of scholarship holders) with other archives of contemporary art could also be promoted in international terms.

documenta academy

Particularly talented young artists from all over the world who have completed their university studies should be given the opportunity to work for a year (or 9 months) in Kassel between graduation and the start of professional artistic work in the newly established "documenta academy" and develop yourself.

The idea a “documenta academy” can already be found - albeit in a different form - in Arnold Bode's considerations. The university professor and documenta inventor Bode wanted to set up a “documenta institute” for scientific preparation for the respective artistic director of the documenta and for “orientation” of 8 young artists outside of the documenta exhibitions in the rooms of the Orangery or the Museum Fridericianum. In the “documenta academy”, artists from different continents and cultures meet and get to know each other's work. You can enter into an exchange of ideas and plans and realize projects together or individually.

The special characteristics of the “documenta academy” are the internationality and the intention to combine artistic production, theoretical reflection and the public in a new way. Each of the previous artistic directors of the documenta proposes an artist and takes on a “sponsorship” for the duration of the scholarship. In this way, the connection between the prominent exhibition organizer and the scholarship holder becomes more personal than with a committee decision, as the person making the selection takes on more responsibility. Such a procedure is also ideally suited for public relations work for artists and academies. The most important contact person for the professional support of the young artists during their stay in Kassel is the respective artistic director of the Kunsthalle Fridericianum.The permanent engagement with the exhibitions of contemporary art in the Kunsthalle Fridericianum gives the opportunity to meet already established artists and exhibition organizers.

Through the collaboration with the documenta archive and the Kunsthochschule Kassel or the University of Kassel could the documenta academy In addition to the possibility of actual artistic activity as part of the scholarship, offer a wide-ranging "curriculum" that also includes legal, economic and historical issues. The focus of these "practical life" studies are topics and problems of the future artist and his non-artistic professional working conditions

1 documenta academy, February 2008, Bernd Leifeld

Documenta studios

The academy can achieve a special local quality if living and working studios can be assigned to it for the scholarship holders. The renovated dock4 building, plus Volkstheater, and the house of the independent scene, with the good rear facade of the Thalia building, form an ensemble that calls for a redesign of the square. Consistently uniform space with attractive furniture for the scater and driveway for delivery traffic only.

Art library

The so far successful loan of works of art from the documenta stock is currently severely limited due to a lack of space. It should be one of the tasks of the documenta archive.

Art Gallery

The Kunsthalle Fridericianum has established itself as an important exhibition activity between the documenta dates. With its excellent leaders, it is the decisive fairground for a documenta permanent, the repeatedly required reinforcement of the perception of Kassel as a documenta city between the documenta exhibitions.

The Kunsthalle currently works with a minimal workforce: the artistic director, a secretary, a curatorial assistant, a communications employee and a production manager. Interns are also involved. In addition, the extent to which a trainee position can be created in the field of placement is being investigated. In addition to the actual content - exhibitions - efforts in the field of mediation / education and public relations / communication are becoming more important today, due to the social change in the direction of a distinct information, knowledge and leisure society.

The art gallery was designed as an art gallery without a collection. Depending on how the future of the Neue Galerie (part of the MHK) will be shaped, it must be considered whether rooms for collections should also be created in the Fridericianum house. If further collection rooms become available in the medium term due to the move of the documenta GmbH on the 2nd floor of the house, a permanent exhibition could be established here between the documents. This would mean that the number of staff at the Kunsthalle would have to increase at the same time.

The Kunsthalle is characterized by a very close collaboration with artists. Projects will be developed intensively on site and come to fruition. That is why the Kunsthalle is not only dependent on individual office spaces for the employees, but also on workspaces for the respective artists. The close proximity of these offices and other workspaces to the Fridericianum is extremely important.

Information and communication center

The institutions and associations that focus on documenta and / or current art in their work should have a common central location where they can bundle their services, exchange information and, above all, benefit from the synergy effects of shared infrastructure. Kasseler Kunstverein, 7000-Eichen, documenta forum, Documenta Foundation.

documenta workshops

documenta, art gallery, art association, documenta archive, scholarship holders, property management require efficient workshops to be able to do their technical and restoration work. A documenta workshop or a combination of special workshops could guarantee high-quality technical and spatial equipment with a considerable synergy effect and still lead to savings. Just consider the combination of different time uses.

chez Arnold

The documenta's Artcafé is intended to facilitate unpretentious contact between the documenta and its guests throughout the year. It can also take over canteen functions for employees, and it is also the best neighborhood for the documenta shop.

Personnel development

These considerations for personnel development only serve to estimate the current and future space requirements of the Bode Center.
Of course, the personnel development is the result of the own planning of the institutions and the supervisory board of documenta-GmbH.

WorkforceCurrent statusFuture
Administration documenta GmbH911
Temporary documenta management (d11 / d12)10 / 19p15p
Aufbaustab documenta exhibition11 / 32p25p
Technical department12 / 18p15p
Art Gallery710
documenta hall11
Exhibition pedagogy2
Art Cafe chez Arnold3
Joint workshops:4
Art gallery, documenta,
documenta archive
Storage, adjoining rooms1
documenta academy1
Documenta Academy Apartments
documenta archive4,510
Szeemann archive2
Art library1
Joint information and service network: Kunstverein, 7000 Eichen Foundation, Arnold Bode Foundation, documeta forum
55 p
([p] periodic requirement when setting up an exhibition)

Space requirements

The space requirement is also estimated according to the available specifications; in some cases new estimates are made. In this way, only a rough, general statement of needs can be made. Of course, only the concrete project planning will be able to work out a reliable quantity structure.

Room disposition CurrentFuture 
Administration documenta GmbH180220
Temporary documenta management (d11 / d12)400p600p
Aufbaustab documenta exhibition200p400p
Technical department360p300p
Art Gallery140200
documenta hall
Exhibition pedagogy40
Art Cafe chez Arnold60
Joint workshops:600
Art gallery, documenta,
documenta archive
Storage, adjoining rooms600
documenta academy250
Documenta Academy Apartments
documenta archive6501,830
Szeemann archive400
Art library100
Joint information and service network: Kunstverein, 7000 Eichen Foundation, Arnold Bode Foundation, documeta forum
1300 p
([p] periodic requirement when setting up an exhibition)

dock4 usage options

Spatial usage concept

The usage concept presented here is based on user specifications, calculations and assumptions made by the authors. It is intended to provide an initial overview of the project. When concretising the Bode Centrum project, all information will have to be checked and the planning arrangements also have to be adapted to the real needs and possibilities.

The Bode Center documenta receives a new, ground-level, spacious entrance in the left part of the facade. The entrance hall leads directly to the right to documenta GmbH and via the staircase to the other floors. House information and the docu-shop work in the entrance hall. Both are connected to the adjoining Café che Arnold. The café has a garden courtyard of up to 250 square meters. The side wing houses the museum education and the information center of the documenta associations and the Kassel art association.

in the 1st floor works the management of the Kunsthalle and for the preparation and implementation of the respective documenta its artistic and administrative management.

The 2nd Floor is the working floor of the documenta. This is where the artistic management, the communication and publications department and the secretariat set up the mediation.


The top floor is to be checked to see whether it can be expanded with the studios and living quarters of the documenta academy's scholarship holders.



With around 810 square meters, the current building could not provide the 1,800 square meters required for the documenta archive, even with very clever extensions.

We therefore recommend a new building that has great advantages over and above the available space. At the level of Obersten Gasse, it allows a year-round exhibition on the documenta in Kassel that is visible up to Friedrichsplatz. The exhibition, 50 years of documenta, and the documenta table are currently available. At the level of the dock4-Hof there is another external contact area with which the Szeemann archive and / or the Artothek can be presented to the public.

The desired uses:
• Administration of the documenta archive
• with accommodation of the Szeemann archive and possibly other archives1
• Exhibition foyer of the archives and the
• art library
• documenta documents
• Archive warehouse
• Szeemann archive
• Adjoining rooms of the yard use

The yard

In the course of the dock4 renovation, the courtyard should also be optimized for its use for open-air activities. It has to be decided to what extent the open-air cinema can be integrated. There must be the possibility
an adhoc canopy (tent construction).

1 It is to be expected that further archives will be acquired for Kassel if the city and the state would in principle agree to expand the archive in this way.

1. Fridericianum

The Fridericianum currently has four functions: Kunsthalle. Kasseler Kunstverein, documenta and TIF. The latter should find a better place in the medium term. This means that the storage and depot areas can then be enlarged. The relocation of the TIF will only be possible after close consultation with the director and his cooperation.

The cleared 2nd floor could make a decisive contribution to making the Fridericianum more attractive. It is proposed that a collection of art from the 20th and 21st centuries should be created here in the time between the documenta
Present exhibitions as permanent exhibitions.

Rene Block is apparently ready to make his collections available for this. This would be an ideal combination with high-class works of the 20th century, which would offer an excellent reference to the existing, somewhat unique holdings. Other collections of this kind could be exhibited and thus provide information on important sources of documenta development between the documenta exhibitions. The tasks of the Kunsthalle are to be expanded accordingly.

• The previous use of the Fridericianum will be optimized.
• The second floor will be cleared, storage rooms in the basement could be gained.
• The secondary uses and services will be moved to dock4.
• An underground connection is created to the dock4.

The documenta BodeCentrum must play a central role in enhancing the benefits of the documenta during the breaks in the exhibition for the city of Kassel.
It is not about accommodating what is already there. It is about the strategic measures for the cultural and financial development of Kassel on a "world scale"! 1

In addition, it should be pointed out: A new building here, between Zwehrenturm and Elisabethhospital, visible from Friedrichsplatz, in the row with a garrison church that has hopefully been properly upgraded and the cultural use of banana ripening, would be an excellent impetus for upgrading the Oberste Gasse district. ______________________________
1 See: Kulturnetz, minutes of April 30, 2007
Center for Contemporary Art Kassel (Arnold Bode Centrum), KulturNetz Kassel and others
The Arnold Bode Center, René Block, Kunsthalle 24.