Global constellations, local receptions

documenta fifiteen: OFF-Biennale Budapest, Eva Koťátková, Daydreaming Workstation, 2022, Installationsansicht (Detail), Bootsverleih Ahoi, Kassel, 12. Juni 2022, Photo: Frank Sperling

The debate around antisemitic accusations concerning documenta 15 has grown so large and so many issues were raised that already the sheer scope of it signifies the complexity of the problem. There are two points that I would like to explore here. Why did this debate explode now, that is, why now exactly? And what was the local (Hungarian) reception of OFF-Biennale Budapest, the curatorial collective who participated in documenta 15? Implicitly, there is a third question, what does the one have to do with the other?

A new antisemitism debate has been going on in Germany for some years. A wave of extreme rightwing antisemitism, neo-Nazis, attacks against Jews, synagogues and immigrants make this debate unavoidable. Some say that this is the biggest antisemitic wave since the 1960s in Germany.1 This new antisemitism debate is not only about extreme rightwing antisemitism but also about Islamic antisemitism, as well as about antisemitism,  on the left that criticizes oppressive power politics and Israel. It is a complex and much debated issue, which was also a major point in the documenta 15 antisemitism accusation debate, whether BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions), the Palestinian led movement criticizing Israel, should be considered antisemitic or not. As Aleida Assmann puts it, “currents associated with the left have also come to complicate the centrality of the Shoah, as calls for more attention to histories of colonialism, slavery, and anti-Black racism become increasingly visible in the public sphere. In other words, from the left and from the right, recent years have seen a shuffling of the elements that defined post-Historikerstreit and post-Cold War memory cultures.”2 Aleida and Jan Assmann, in their letter written when Peter Schäfer, director of the Berlin Jewish Museum, withdrew in the face of accusations of antisemitism and criticism of an exhibition3 labeled anti-Israeli, summed up this situation, “Germany currently has a dramatic problem with antisemitism,” 4 and “A spectre is haunting Europe: it is the accusation of antisemitism. It places us Europeans, especially Germans, under general suspicion.” 5 In the case of documenta 15, this accusation concerned non-Europeans, as well. I will come back to this.

When the Indonesian group ruangrupa was invited to curate documenta 15, it was the peak of a process that had begun much earlier. In documenta10, although chief curator, Catherine David, in 1997 opened up documenta, saying that no big exhibitions can be organized without acknowledging what is going on globally, she did not consider the war going on in the Balkans at the time, or the new geopolitical situation less than ten years after 1989. She argued that the art of the post-socialist region is secondary, pseudo-art.6 She neither hid her value judgment, nor questioned the hierarchy of the art world. Okwui Enwezor, in documenta 11, was the one who really made a change. He made postcolonial ruptures of the world, regions, problems, conflicts visible in the art context, at a Western location. Enwezor, a Nigerian born but Western educated curator and theoretician, familiar with Western art institutions, took on the representation of the art of a formerly invisible world at a highly prestigious art event. After Enwezor, in the spirit of this decentering, non-European regions were involved in the following documentas, although, as Oliver Marchant puts it, this was rather a “decentering and recentering the West.”7 There was a radical breaking point when not a Western, curator-celebrity was selected to be the chief curator of documenta 15. Now, ruangrupa did not represent the global south, they come from the global south, they actually are the global south.

The question of antisemitism was on the table well before the opening of documenta 15. A German sponsored, huge art event being labeled as antisemitic was a threat8 hanging over documenta 15. In a lecture, Eyal Weizman (Forensic Architecture) in the Berlin Biennale 2022, stated that they had been working on the issue to defend ruangrupa and documenta from antisemitic allegations.9 Already in January 2022, the accusation appeared, and the participants of the lumbung and documenta advisory board discussed it early, expressing that “anti-Semitism and racism have no place at documenta fifteen.”10 Ruangrupa themselves addressed this issue early, and the handbook clearly refers to it: “we […] talked about how we should respond to accusations of antisemitism that emerged from a Kassel blog in January 2022.”11 It would be useful to know more about the selection process itself, especially whether the selecting board addressed the issue of BDS in connection with the group or if this was not an issue at all for them at the time. In any case, ruangrupa was selected in January 2019, while the BDS resolution by the German parliament passed in May 2019.

When the global south stepped out of its subordinate position and entered the institutional frame of a contemporary art event, it happened in the spirit of opening up and of decentralization. Ruangrupa aptly took this opportunity to subvert the old system in order to create a horizontal, more democratic one. This opening up, however, created a very difficult issue when it came to antisemitism and Israel. While it is a legitimate expectation to respect Holocaust memory all over the world and accept its moral lessons, Holocaust memory and Holocaust discourse has been worked out in the West. This mainstream Holocaust discourse unavoidably meets other, sometimes conflicting memories in the present globalized world. It is an important issue, who defines antisemitism and in what ways.

The definition of antisemitism is one issue that the IHRA (International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance) considers. The 2016 IHRA definition was altered in Germany. Aleida Assmann quotes the original and the altered version:“Antisemitism is a specific perception of Jews that can express itself as hatred of Jews. Antisemitism is directed, in word and deed, against Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, as well as against Jewish community and religious institutions, and manifestations of anti-Semitism can also be directed against the State of Israel, which is understood as a Jewish collective. However, criticism of Israel, which is comparable to that of other countries, cannot be considered anti-Semitic.”12 In Germany however, this definition has been altered and widely used, with an addition at the end, “Manifestations of anti-Semitism can also be directed against the State of Israel, which is thereby understood as a Jewish collective.” 13 This seemingly small addition changes a lot. It implies that Israel is a Jewish community, attacking a Jewish community is attacking Jewish people, therefore it is antisemitic. This makes it possible to consider BDS antisemitic.

The issue of antisemitism or anti-Israeli attitudes could have been raised in earlier editions of documenta as well. Oliver Marchart took account of those works that could have triggered a similar outcry. 14 He states that “d12 […] proved symptomatic in yet another respect: the sheer numerical over-representation of the conflict between Israel and Palestinians when compared to all other conflicts in the world.”15 Also, Gregory Sholette calls attention to that “Documenta 11’s central Halle was devoted to artists collectives, and notably it included an archival project on Palestinian history that, as far as I [Sholette] know, drew no charges of antisemitism at the time.”16 Earlier, these works were not interpreted in the frame of antisemitism or anti-Israeli manifestations. 

Neither were postcolonial studies yet considered a threat. A comparison between postcolonial violence and the Holocaust, was not seen as threatening the uniqueness of the Holocaust. Michael Rothberg’s Multidirectional Memory was published in 2009. Since then, this eye-opening book has been translated into several languages, becoming a reference point in subsequent discussions. When it was translated to German in 2021, its reception was totally different; “prominent public voices in Germany have been hostile, dismissive, and unwilling to engage seriously with arguments that challenge any aspect of the dominant view of the Holocaust, antisemitism, and Israel.” 17 The German translation of the book triggered a big debate. As Dirk Moses wrote in 2021, “such an extensive international debate about German memory and the Holocaust has surprised many […] The debate is not my invention of course. The tinder was very dry; only a spark was required to ignite the flame.” 18 I refer to this in the context of the documenta accusation to support that this debate actually began earlier, even before the first accusations of not including Israeli Jewish artists, in a blog in January 2022. 19

Not long before the opening of documenta 15, the exhibition, documenta. Politics and Art 20 of the Deutsches Historisches Museum destroyed the “documenta myth.” The myth, that documenta, in 1955, was a restoration of cultural values and a return to civilization after Nazi barbarism, a rehabilitation of modern art labeled “degenerate,” was undermined by new research. Actually, destroying the documenta myth began with destroying another myth, that of Emile Nolde, with the exhibition in 2019 in Berlin. 21 The documents that were accessible for the first time when preparing for the Nolde exhibition, opened up the Nazi past of art historian Werner Haftmann, one of the major and respected actors of the first and some of the consecutive early documentas. This new research revealed more than just Haftmann’s ties to the Nazi past; it turned out that ten other members of the documenta organizational team also hid their Nazi past. Also, Chagall was the one and only Jewish artist exhibited in the first documenta and Jewish German artists were not included at all. It might be a too far-fetched conclusion that the antisemitism accusation of documenta 15 functioned as a screen against the questionable past of documenta more generally, but I think it is safe to say that new research created a heightened sensitivity and rigor, more than at any time earlier. 

The situation today is complex. As Rothberg writes, “The worry seems to be that ‘postcolonial’ critics are undermining this unprecedented achievement [of Holocaust memory and German responsibility] and playing into the hands of the far right.”22 During the past ten years or more, nationalism, right-wing populism, and racism have strengthened. And besides openly racist, antisemitic, neo-fascist parties, there are authoritarian, illiberal regimes that present themselves as opposing antisemitism, referring to their good relationship with Israel, thus excluding even the possibility of antisemitic accusations while at the same time using time-tested antisemitic strategies and fueling antisemitic emotions. Historian Valentina Pisanty raises still another complex issue: what can we do with the contradiction that “In the last twenty years racism and intolerance have increased dramatically in those very countries where the politics of memory have been implemented with the greatest vigor”?23

Although documenta is a global art event, Germany is not a neutral platform for a global dialogue, as Jörg Heisel argues, referring to Hito Steyerl,24 who withdraw her work from documenta because of the lack of dialogue and discussion: “[Steyerls’s] lecture that she would have given at the canceled panel series (the text of which was published in Die Zeit25) also discusses the blind spots of a German institution that has yet to come to terms with the fact that it was co-founded by a Nazi. Steyerl thus described the spectrum of German projections and blind spots, but also those spots of a postcolonial theory in which ‘everything needs to be situated and contextualized, unless it takes place in Germany.’”26 Documenta is not a “blank slate.”27

To sum up and answer the “why now?” question, this “scandal” is a constellation of events and processes that extend years back, and which have been developing. Globalization, postcolonial discourse, a greater cultural opening to the global south, the destruction of the “documenta myth,” new antisemitism, the German legal definition of antisemitism, the BDS resolution, accusations, debates about the German translation of Rothberg’s Multidirectional Memory, discussions around the entanglement of colonialism and the Holocaust, that some historians call the historians debate 2.0 are all parts in it, preparing the explosion.

There is no excuse for using age-old antisemitic visual stereotypes, and documenta 15’s big mistake is that it could have been considered a good opportunity for nuanced analysis and discussions, which did not happen. I argue that in the present political constellation, with the resurrection of extreme right-wing antisemitism, attacks against Jews and German-Israeli political relations, it was exactly memory solidarity and transnational understanding which proved to be impossible. Antisemitism in a global context, what it means in the global south, clashed with a more specific German context. “[…] the aporias of ‘cosmopolitan memory’ lurk in the contrast between the presumed universality of the core narrative and the inevitable specificity of the uses made of it.”28 How antisemitism is understood is not homogeneous, and the present political constellation, the elements of which are collected above, exploded into scandal. 

German memory culture of the perpetrator has been a model for other countries that are reluctant to face their historic crimes. Working through the past has, it may be said, become part of what it means to be German, so this process is a kind of guarantee of anti-antisemitism in the German understanding. The antisemitic accusation is now transferred to non-Europeans, who did not go through the same historical process. Inadvertently, documenta 15 created a situation where, as Eyal Weizman said, German antisemitism could be considered a problem of the past, and today’s antisemitism is an imported problem, not German.29

From searching for alternatives, hope and chances of survival30 to documenta 15

Although documenta has never been a nation-based international exhibition, it was important for the different local art scenes that regional artists should be included, once– after the end of the Cold War– they could be included at all. In order to realize this aim, in the 1990s, conscious work and efforts began to inform documenta curators about Hungarian art, and possibly to show them around the local art scene. It was a success when Hungarian artists or curators were included and involved in documenta.31 In the same vein as earlier, OFF-Biennale, in cooperation with Dot.To.Dot residency program, invited a ruangrupa member to Budapest in 2019. 

Ruangrupa works with an art concept different from the individual-based Western one: they are community based, close to activism, they do things in “real life” not “only” in art. So, looking back, it seems a logical step that instead of individual artists, the basis of the invitation of OFF-Biennale was collective work, cooperation. The Hungarian curatorial team was invited because they work together as a team, because of what their position represents, and because they curate collectively, outside of state art institutional frames,  and in a difficult cultural, political environment.

When it was announced that OFF-Biennale Budapest received an invitation to be a participating collective in Kassel, interviews and articles reported about it. Such an opportunity has never been given for Hungarian contemporary art. Hajnalka Somogyi, the conceiver and head of the OFF-Biennale Budapest Association, was listed in Art Review’s power list in 2020,32 another unprecedented international acknowledgement of a Hungarian curator. 

Kassel, documenta fifteen: City Centre, June 2022 » Tamás Péli, Birth; Omara, Adoption /OFF-Biennale Budapest, One Day We Shall Celebrate Again: RomaMoMA (Fridericianum). Photo: Fabian Frölich

The foundation of the OFF-Biennale in 2014 was a counter-movement amidst the right-wing, nationalist turn in culture, in Hungary, in 2013.33 The group of curators based their activity on the mobilization of their professional assets, network, and expertise to counter the state’s invasion of major art institutions or ideological state preference. It was a strong political statement at the time, a civil initiative that would not apply for or accept any financial support from the state. OFF-Biennale successfully shook up the Hungarian contemporary art scene with the first (2015) edition of the biennial. Then, a second (2017) and a third (2021) edition followed –actually, OFF-Biennale considers its documenta participation yet another edition. 34 Throughout these years there have been changes in the work of OFF-Biennale, as well as in the composition of the members of the association. For instance, one cannot disregard that most of the members of the cooperation are women. Although their professional assets are not to be underestimated, members of OFF-Biennale are not working for financial gain. They all rely on other jobs to make a living, they invest unpaid work into OFF-Biennale. Thus they are part of an unpaid female economy of labor. 

Małgorzata Mirga-Tas, Out of Egypt, 2021, installation view. Photo: Frank Sperling; courtesy of the artist and documenta fifteen Fridericianum, Kassel

After the initial celebratory tone following the announcement of the documenta participation, most of the interviews concentrated on the concept, the artists and the artworks to be shown at documenta. The OFF-Biennale program consisted of three parts, the RomaMoMA project, exhibiting the huge painting, Birth (1983) by Tamás Péli, a continuation of one of the projects of OFF-Biennale’s third edition in 2021. The second part was a “playground” in a popular place, AHOI at the Fulda river bank where works by Hungarian and other artists from the post-socialist region, plus a bridge by Recetas Urbanas, a Spanish collective was displayed. The third is a publication, On the Same Page. According to Hajnalka Somogyi, the question why OFF-Biennale took the Roma to documenta 1535 came up in a number of interviews36 and the decision caused a kind of puzzlement locally [in Hungary].I n this reaction there is the implicit question, why not take (“good”) contemporary Hungarian artists to the most important contemporary art event of the world instead? Although the new documenta context changed the meaning of the whole Roma MoMA project, it was a productive decision. Within the framework of OFF-Biennale in 2021, a huge painting by Roma artist Tamás Péli, displayed in the prestigious Budapest Historical Museum, raised questions about the place, position, and visibility of Roma art, as well as, on a more general level, about Roma intellectuals, at an art-scene that was ethnically homogenous not just on the official side but also on the oppositional one. The project closed with a petition to the director of the Hungarian National Gallery to include the painting in the museum’s collection, thus not separating Roma and Hungarian art.  In Kassel, in the Fridericianum, works by Péli and other Roma artists, including Polish Malgorzata Mirga-Tas, gained new meanings in proximity to works by minority artists from elsewhere in the world. We should add that the hierarchical position of Fridericianum itself, as a respected museum-type exhibition center of documenta, was subverted with gudskul (the Indonesian word for collective learning and gathering). In this context, the Roma MoMA project lent Europe’s oppressed, colonized group visibility at documenta,37 and exhibiting Roma artists was in accordance with the concept and spirit of ruangrupa.

documenta fifteen: Gudskul, Fridskul Common Library, Fridericianum, Kassel, 17. Juni 2022, Foto: Victoria Tomaschko

After the opening of documenta 15, in the Hungarian media, interviews and articles were published. The interviews were important sources and information; however, they provided only one perspective, that of the participating Hungarian collective. The articles mainly dealt with the analysis of the antisemitism accusation, and devoted only a couple of words to the OFF-Biennale. Péter György analysed the changes of documenta between 2012 and 2022, as well as the consequences of the differences between the local German and the Indonesian group’s approach to historical memory and art. In July 2022, he was hoping that it was possible to move forward and find productive ways to discuss what had happened, thus move to the future. The article however ends with the documenta Supervisory Board’s statement, a sign that the situation was more serious than he hoped.38 Art historian József Mélyi considered the question of freedom of art and the paradigm shift as inevitable consequences for further documentas. 39 I would like to highlight one more article, written by Zsolt Miklósvölgyi, who made a witty statement about why it had not even been attempted to understand Taring Padi’s banner as art, that is, not as antisemitism but the representation of antisemitism. He argued that it was the curators themselves who made this type of interpretation, based on aesthetic autonomy, impossible.40 Other issues were revealed as well. One article, addressing the scandal and attempting to explain it by putting it into the historical context of Indonesia, began with bashing the decision that an Indonesian collective was selected as documenta’s chief curator, stating that, “Indonesia is not famous for its contemporary art,”41 thus questioning the basic, self-critical concept of documenta 15 to open up towards the global south and refuse old hierarchies. OFF-Biennale’s solidarity statement was called a “short sighted view”. While condemning antisemitism, the same article made an ironic comment calling historian Dirk Moses a “new Moses,” whose “new catechism” concept is often criticized in the German antisemitism debate. I am afraid that playing with names this way is not appropriate, let alone when the author condemns antisemitism. I have no doubt that the author wanted nothing else but to make a funny play on words; however, the same type of sensitivity should be practiced that is required.

The AHOI! project received very little and definitely much less attention than the Roma MoMA in the Hungarian media. AHOI park was transformed into a “playground” with works of artists from the East-Central European region, Hungarian artists, and a Spanish collective’s collaborative work. OFF made an important statement by stepping over national borders and including not only Hungarian artists. Recetas Urbanas’s bridge, built with local school kids does not lead anywhere. It is an unnecessary bridge in a practical sense, but fosters play where the process is the point, not imitating a serious adult world but rather establishing a special relation to reality where everything is possible. Imagination is free-floating while it takes materially realized forms – irrational buildings, dreaming in common, future gardens floating on the river. The playground is a future-oriented, hopeful project, it leaves behind rationality, mandatory restrictions, or rules to follow. Hence, it is both hope and an escape from the present – a true contemporary art project. The bridge by Recetas Urbanas and local school kids was made in cooperation with locals and contemporary artists, and it might stay there or at a close location in Kassel after documenta 15. This too is in the spirit that ruangrupa represents.

Recetas Urbanas, Jumping in Hanoi (The Everything Bridge / Die Allesbrücke), 2022. Photo by Edit András

The third part of OFF-Biennale’s contribution is the publication, On the Same Page. 42The three projects, Roma MoMA, AHOI! and the publication are political in different measures. The publication focuses on collectivity and independence, using metaphors like soup-making. At the time of the foundation of OFF-Biennale Budapest, the initiative was a radical political statement, even though OFF-Biennale, as it has been stated several times, does not want to be part of daily, actual party politics.43 However, the publication, looking back to the series of inevitably political events, is a very political act. Gergely Nagy and Szabolcs KissPál elaborate on the course of events, how step by step the state made independent work impossible in art institutions, exiled schools, and made independent intellectual life in general increasingly difficult.

Similarly to the global art scene, the local Hungarian scene has also changed a lot since 2013-2014. OFF-Biennale’s policy of independence, its not accepting state funds, has remained unchanged. This is a guarantee of their intellectual independence and freedom. This is also a political statement at a time when a right-wing, authoritarian regime has systematically occupied almost all fields of culture since 2013, and when, over the years, a kind of “normalization” took over, that is, more and more artists and intellectuals have accepted more and more earlier unacceptable conditions for existential reasons. Even though politics is a sensitive issue for OFF-Biennale, they have met with some criticism in this respect, after the first edition. 

In 2015, professionals of the Hungarian art scene were asked to reflect on the first edition of OFF-Biennale. The reflections were published under the title, “Alternative, Hope, and Chances of Survival”.44 One of the questions referred to the international relevance of a new biennale among the already existing many. Seven years later, the answer is simple, as OFF-Biennale is in documenta. (The structure of the biennale, having a large and spectacular series of events every second year, is no longer the major issue.45) In 2015, to quote Edit András, “OFF manifested nothing less than that there is and there can be life beyond official cultural politics,”46 in the local scene. In 2022, this feature, working outside of official cultural frames, was exactly one of the reasons why OFF-Biennale gained invitation and international recognition.

Just as the antisemitism scandal should be contextualized and understood as a constellation of different intellectual, philosophical debates, memory politics, and reactions to extreme right-wing political activity going back about 10 years, so too the local, Hungarian reception should also be put in a historical context. The foundation of OFF-Biennale was a radical act made in radical times in Hungary.47 The realization of the first edition, however, took place “in the time of ‘normalization’ already” […].48 although this was yet far from what followed in the years coming, as hardly any free place has been left for independent artistic work, those who did not want to leave the country were all but forced to give up on radical solutions.49 Meanwhile, another process was going on at the international art scene, a “self-critical introspection of Western assumptions that helped to open up the very possibility of a documenta 15—one organized by artists from the distant periphery of the global art scene—in the first place facilitating resistance against ‘elite discourse.’”50 More and more “normalization” in the Hungarian art scene, and a radical change of documenta. OFF-Biennale received the invitation in this new historical constellation.

The antisemitism accusation scandal definitely did a disservice to documenta participants, OFF-Biennale included. It stole the show in the Hungarian media as well. The deficient local reception is substantially due to this; however a certain failure to understand, let alone accept global changes, also contributed to it. As Anselm Franke eloquently put it, “When it comes to questions of how to frame something in the context of global history, also beyond the narrow confines of contemporary art, we’ll need new symbioses. Those symbioses are emerging in the interactions between activism, local art institutions, and the reassessment of colonial history—and no longer primarily in art.”51

Off-Biennale itself has changed a lot over the last seven years. The group works amidst increasingly harsh conditions, but receives international recognition. The latest news is that in 2023, the team of OFF-Biennale received a Goethe medal, the most prestigious cultural award of the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The group has not given up the principle of not accepting or applying for state funds, and still keeps a distance from “direct politics”. 52 The latter has become more and more difficult, especially after the ruangrupa and the lumbung experience. As Nikolett Erőss, member of OFF-Biennale’s curatorial team, said in a recent interview, “In the midst of successive crises we have to think twice about what we invest in, which project we initiate or stay in. It has been confirmed that we should invest in alliances that blur the line between art and society or are at home in both areas. As long as we have limited resources, we should make sure to invest them in issues and fields that are socially relevant and make sure that the new partnerships are also based on this very reinforced social engagement.” 53

Hedvig Turai is an art historian and critic, who holds a PhD in art history from Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest. She currently teaches Visual Culture at the International Business School, Budapest. Her main interests are Holocaust and visual culture, politics and art, gender studies, memory, memorials, and monuments. Her publications include a monograph on the Hungarian painter Margit Anna (2002), co-edited volumes  Exposed Memories: Family Pictures in Private and Collective Memory (2010, with Zsófia Bán), Art in Hungary: Double Speak and Beyond (2018, with Edit Sasvári and Sándor Hornyik), and as guest editor, two special issues of the Hungarian journal Enigma (2004, nos. 37-38, 2005 no.42) presenting the theoretical and critical writings on Holocaust and contemporary art.

What did you learn at documenta 15? is an open-ended issue edited by Dóra Hegyi, editor of Mezosfera, curator, and project leader of Budapest and Gyula Muskovics, independent curator and artist based in Budapest. If you would like to contribute, please submit your proposal, including a 200-word abstract and your short bio in English at

  1. According to historian Gideon Botschaz, “Current Developments of Antisemitism in Germany’s Far-Right”. Indiana Uiversity, Institute for the Study of Contemporary Antisemitism.
  2. Michael Rothberg, “Comparing Comparisons: From the ‘Historikerstreit’ to the Mbembe Affair.” Geschicte der Gegenwart, 23. September 2020.
  3. Welcome to Jerusalem. Jewish Museum, Berlin,11 December 2017 – 30 April 2019
  4. “With these words Jan Assmann and I opened a letter in June 2019. It was written in defence of a colleague, the renowned Judaist and emeritus professor at Princeton University, Peter Schäfer. He was suddenly considered unfit to continue to serve as director of the Jewish Museum…” Aleida Assmann, “A Spectre is Haunting Germany: The Mbembe Debate and the New Antisemitism”. Journal of Genocide Research
  5. Ibid
  6. See Edit András, Kulturális átöltözés. Művészet a szocializmus romjain. Argumentum, Budapest: 2009, 21. Also, Robert Storr, “Kassel Rock (Interview with Curator Catherine David).” ArtForum International no 5. (1997) 1.
  7. Oliver Marchart, Hegemony Machines documenta X to fifteen and the Politics of, Zürich: 2022, 56–75.
  8. Anselm Franke on the Future of documenta: “We’re witnessing old structures not wanting to die.”
  9. Lecture within the framework of the conference “Imperial Ecologies” as part of the 12th Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art on June 23, 2022 at Hamburger Bahnhof – Museum der Gegenwart – Berlin.
  10. Handbook. Documenta fifteen. HatjeCantz, Berlin: 2022, 27.
  11. Handbook 27.
  12. Quoted by A. Assmann, op. cit.
  13. The whole, altered definition, as quoted by Assman,“Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews that can express itself as hatred towards Jews. Antisemitism is directed in word and deed against Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, as well as against Jewish community and religious institutions. Manifestations of antisemitism can also be directed against the State of Israel, which is thereby understood as a Jewish collective.” A. Assman ibid, 7.
  14. “An example of a questionable work from earlier editions is Peter Friedl’s stuffed giraffe, which not coincidentally became the media star of d12. The main reason for the success of Friedl’s work is probably to be found in the fact that information was spread about the work to the effect that the Israelis had driven the poor little giraffe to cardiac death, but also, presumably, that Brownie the giraffe made a good icon of the archetypal victim of an ‘Israeli occupation regime’ that evidently does not even shy away from murdering Palestinian zoo animals.” Marchart, 107.
  15. Marchart, 103.
  16. Gregory Sholette, “A short and incomplete history of ‘bad’ curating as collective resistance.” e-flux, 21 September.
  17. Michael Rothberg, “Reflections on a year of acrimonious discourse.” SUP blog, posted March 15, 2022.
  18. A. Dirk Moses, “The Catechism DebateJune 15, 20219. Dialectic of Vergangenheitsbewältigung
  19. Nach Kritik an documenta: So umstritten ist das Bündnis gegen Antisemitismus. Erstellt: 23.01.2022 Aktualisiert: 02.02.2022, 17:12 Uhr Von: Matthias Lohr.
  20. documenta. Politics and Art. Deutsches Historisches Museum, Berlin, 18 Juni, 2021–9 January, 2022. Curated by Julia Voss, Lars Bang Larsen, Dorlis Blume, Alexia Pooth und Dorothee Wierling.
  21. Emil Nolde. A German Legend. The Artist during the Nazi Regime. Hamburger Bahnhof – Nationalgalerie der Gegenwart, berlin, 12 March, 2019 –15 September, 2019. Curated by Bernhard Fulda, Christian Ring and Aya Soika.
  22. Rothberg,
  23. Valentina Pisanty, Guardians of Memory. And the Return of the Xenophobic Right.Translated by Alastair McEwen. CPL EDITIONS, Centro Primo Levi, Inc, New York: 2020,148.(e-book)
  24. Jörg Heiser, “ ‘Contested Histories’: On Documenta 15.” e-flux Criticism, June 29, 2022.
  25. Hito Steyerl, “Kontext ist König, außer der deutsche.” Zeit Online, June 3, 2022,
  26. Steyerl, Zeit Online, quoted by JörgHeiser.
  27. Heiser op.cit.
  28. Pisanty, 17.
  29. Eyal Weizman, lecture op.cit.
  30. Alternative, hope and chances of survival was the title of an interview with local art professionals who evaluated the 1st edition of OFF-Biennale. Andrási Gábor, “Alternatíva, remény és a túlélés esélyei.” (Alternatives, hope and chances of survival) Műértő 2015 (XVIII:6), 1, 6–7.
  31. In 2012, 2017
  33. See Hungary in Focus: Conservative Politics and Its Impact on the Arts. A Forum by Edit András (Budapest). Published 09/17/2013.
  34. Somogyi Hajnalka: Ami leginkább hiányzik innen, az egy normális ország. (Hajnalka Somogyi, What is lacking here the most is a normal country.)April 8, 2023. Nagy András, podcast interview with Hajnalka Somogyi.
  35. Akik éltek a lehetőséggel, 17.
  36. Karafiáth Orsolya, “’Új perspektívákat nyertünk’ – Somogyi Hajnalka kurátor, az OFF-Biennále Budapest vezetője.”A Mű, 2022. augusztus 31. or Jankó Judit, “Akik éltek a lehetőséggel. Beszélgetés Somogyi Hajnalkával.” Új Művészet, 33. évf. 9. sz. (2022.)
  37. See interviews with Hajnalka Somogyi, quoted above.
  38. Péter György, “Ugyanott, máskor. A 15. dokumenta.” Élet és Irodalom, 2022 (LXIV: 29), 9.
  39. József Mélyi, “A művészi szabadság tere és ideje.” Élet és Irodalom, 2022 (LXIV: 35), 29.
  40. Zsolt Miklósvölgyi, “Nézzük meg! A Documenta 15-ről.” Artportal, 3 January, 2023,
  41. Tillmann J. A., “A tévedések Documentája. Mi történt Kasselban?” Magyar Narancs, 2022 (XXXIV:34) 14 September, 2022
  42. Editorial board members: Rita Kálmán, Lívia Páldi, Katarina Sevic.
  43. See Somogyi Hajnalka, Ami leginkább hiányzik innen, az egy normális ország, quoted above.
  44. Andrási Gábor, “Alternatíva, reményés a túlélés esélyei” Műértő 2015 (XVIII:6), 1, 6–7.
  45. Somogyi Hajnalka: Ami leginkább hiányzik innen, az egy normális ország, podcast quoted above.
  46. András Edit in Műértő, op. cit., 7.
  47. Protestors were sitting on the  stairway of Ludwig Museum Budapest, this  “occupy Ludwig” lasted between May 9 and May21, 2013.
  48. András Edit in Műértő, op. cit., 6.
  49. See artist Csaba Nemes’ reflections on “normalization” in the past ten years. “Tíz éve. ‘Erős, nyitott, autonóm szellemi pozíció felé’ – Nemes Csaba.”
  50. Sholette, op. cit.
  51. Anselm Franke on the Future of documenta: ‘We’re witnessing old structures not wanting to die’”e-flux, September 26, 2022.
  52. Somogyi Hajnalka: Ami leginkább hiányzik innen, az egy normális ország, podcast quoted above.
  53. Triennilas out of time: OFF-Biennale Budapest and Matter of Art. Nikolett Erőss, Hajnalka Somogyi, Tereza Stejskalová, Eszter Szakács. March, April 2023.

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