Documenta rescued from bankruptcy

Documenta 14 director Adam Szymczyk. Image: courtesy lokalo24

Documenta 14, the current edition of the quinquennial headed up by curator Adam Szymcyck, has been rescued from the brink of bankruptcy, the German newspaper HNA reports. The paper details that at a meeting of Documenta’s supervisory board on 28 August, the board heard that Documenta’s projected deficit for the financial year would be in the region of €7million. To avert insolvency, the owners of Documenta’s company - the state of Hesse and the city of Kassel – have made loans to the company of €3.5m each. Major creditors have also agreed to a deferral of outstanding amounts owed to them.

Szymcyck’s decision to extend Documenta with a second presentation multi-venue presentation in Athens has apparently stretched Documenta’s budget of €37m. In an update to the original article, HNA today suggested that significant overspends in shipping costs between Athens and Kassel, high electricity bills at the Athens venues and the production of the marble title tiles that accompanied works in Athens were all contributing factors. The situation has raised questions about the effective oversight by the supervisory group and of Documenta’s managing director Annette Kulenkampff in agreeing to Szymczyk’s unprecedented plan to stage the Athens presentation.

Documenta 14 is the most expensive edition of the quinquennial so far; Caroline Christov-Bakargiev’s 2012 edition had a budget of €24.5m, and attracted 860,000 visitors. The rising attendance figures (1987’s Documenta 8 attracted 474,000 visitors) have made Documenta a valuable event for the city and the region.

13 September 2017