News & events > Australian visual artists at dOCUMENTA (13)
06 Aug 2012

Australian visual artists at dOCUMENTA (13)


The works of eight Australian visual artists are on show at dOCUMENTA (13), one of the most prestigious events on the visual arts calendar, held in Kassel, Germany every five years. The strong and unprecedented Australian presence coincides with the 60th anniversary celebrations of Australian diplomatic relations with Germany. 

Presented across venues and locations throughout Kassel, documenta has been showcasing cutting-edge contemporary visual arts from around the world since its inception in 1955. The last edition of documenta in 2007 attracted over 750,000 visitors from all over the world, including international collectors, gallery and museum directors and curators, and international press.

This is the largest ever contingent of Australian artists represented at dOCUMENTA (13). The artists are: Gordon Bennett, Simryn Gill, Fiona Hall, Stuart Ringholt, Margaret Preston (deceased), Doreen Reid Nakamarra (deceased), Warwick Thornton and Warlimpirrnga Tjapaltjarri, and Australia-based Khadim Ali.

The celebration of Australian artists is the vision of dOCUMENTA (13) Artistic Director Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, a former Biennale of Sydney Artistic Director (2008), whose time with the Biennale inspired a passion for Australian artists.

Carolyn worked closely with indigenous curator Hetti Perkins to develop a distinct indigenous Australian element to the event, with four very different contemporary indigenous artists being represented, building an international appreciation of the strength and diversity of the world’s oldest living culture. Christov-Bakargiev invited Perkins to join a core group of international curators to work alongside her as an Agent for dOCUMENTA (13).

“I am pleased to see such strong representation from Australia at dOCUMENTA (13), particularly as we celebrate the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations with Germany,” says Australian Ambassador to Germany Mr Peter Tesch.

“dOCUMENTA (13) will bring some of the best Australian contemporary visual artists and thinkers to an important global audience, enhancing the reputation of our artists and showcasing Australia’s contribution to global culture,” says Ambassador Tesch.

Australia-based artist Khadim Ali will also participate and undertake a linked residency both before and during the event.  Australian writers, poets and scholars including Romaine Moreton, Jill Bennett and anthropologist Michael Taussig have been invited to contribute to the publication series accompanying dOCUMENTA (13), 100 notes – 100 thoughts.

“This is a wonderful moment for Australia to be so well represented at dOCUMENTA (13),” says Professor Ted Snell, Chair of the Australia Council’s Visual Arts Board. “One of the premier forums for contemporary art in the world, the strong cohort of Australian artists, writers and curators is evidence of the vitality and innovation that characterises Australian visual arts.”

“Preceding the Sydney Biennale by a matter of weeks, it’s an excellent opportunity to showcase the achievements of Australian artists working locally and reaching global audiences,” says Professor Snell.

The Australia Council for the Arts has supported dOCUMENTA (13) in partnership with the Australian Government’s nation branding program, Brand Australia, and the Australian Embassy in Berlin.

dOCUMENTA (13) opened to the public on Saturday 9 June 2012 and runs for 100 days until 16 September 2012. Event information and artist bios are available from

Press release source: Australia Council for the Arts

Image credits (above): Warlimpirrnga Tjapaltjarri, Doreen Reid Nakamarra,'Untitled' (2007, 2008, 2009, 2012). Warlimpirrnga Tjapaltjarri: 'Untitled', 2008 Acrylic on Belgian linen 153 x 122 cm; 'Untitled', 2008 Acrylic on Belgian linen 153 x 183 cm; 'Untitled', 2009 Acrylic on Belgian linen 153 x 183 cm; 'Untitled', 2009 Acrylic on Belgian linen 183 x 244 cm; 'Untitled', 2012 Acrylic on Belgian linen 183 x 244 cm. Commissioned by dOCUMENTA (13) and produced by Papunya Tula Artists Pty Ltd. All works courtesy the artist; Papunya Tula Artists Pty Ltd. Doreen Reid Nakamarra: 'Untitled', 2007 Synthetic polymer paint on canvas 183 x 244 cm Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney; 'Untitled', 2007 Acrylic on linen 183 x 244 cm National Gallery of Australia, Canberra; 'Untitled', 2008 Acrylic on linen 183 x 244 cm Private collection, Sydney; 'Untitled', 2009 Acrylic on linen 91 x 122 cm, Courtesy of the estate of the artist and Papunya Tula Artists Pty Ltd; 'Untitled', 2009 Acrylic on linen 122 x 153 cm, Courtesy of the estate of the artist and Papunya Tula Artists Pty Ltd; 'Untitled', 2009 Acrylic on linen 153 x 183 cm, Private collection, Australia. Photo: Roman März.