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Artists take expression to next level

Berlin's Documenta features performance and conceptual installations by international artists.

June 16, 2007|From Times wire services

BERLIN — Documenta, the world's largest contemporary art show that is held every five years, opens for the 12th time this weekend, boasting more than 500 works from 113 artists.

The $25.3-million show, which opens today in the central German city of Kassel and runs for 100 days, brings together disparate works of modern artists, including a photo series by Palestinian artist Ahlam Schibli focusing on the lives of her people.

There is also a performance art piece by Chinese artist Ai Weiwei that will see 1,001 Chinese people -- including farmers, workers and police officers -- fly to Germany and then walk through the streets of Kassel for a week.

"We think of the exhibition as a medium, a move away from representation toward production," said organizers Ruth Noack and Roger M. Buergel in a statement.

"Rather than simply lining up the best artists of the world, we have considered the format of the exhibition in terms of spectatorial experience as a space in which both art work and audience challenge each other and are qualified."

The exhibition is spread out over several locations in Kassel, but also includes a presentation of food-as-art by star cook Ferran Adria at Spain's famous El Bulli restaurant, about two hours north of Barcelona. Curators will select visitors at random and invite them to eat his arty food at his restaurant.

Among the other exhibitors are American concept artist Mary Kelly, African artist Romuald Hazoume and Argentine Alejandra Riera.

Documenta runs through Sept. 23.

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