Documenta 14 Exhibition entitled “Learning from Athens” was inaugurated on Saturday at the National Museum of Contemporary Art (EMST), in Athens, by the Greek President Prokopios Pavlopoulos and the President of the Federal Republic of Germany Frank-Walter Steinmeier.
The director of the National Museum of Contemporary Art Katerina Koskina addressed the event followed by Culture Minister Lydia Koniordou who praised the importance of that exhibition held in the National Museum of Contemporary Art – a “jewel of civilisation” – in a country that resists the economic crisis in terms of culture.
“Based on its extravagant spirit and lack of conservatism, Documenta unites, while the art bridges and raises critical problems of the human civilisation,” she stressed.
The artistic director of Documenta 14 Adam Szymczyk explained his proposal for Kassel and Athens to co-host the exhibition: The proposal reviews the idea of the institution reversing the usual hitherto role of the host with the organization of an exhibition in which it will be the guest with the prospect of a mutual lesson from Athens.
Greek President Prokopios Pavlopoulos stressed the importance of the world famous exhibition. As he said, he has the opportunity along with his German counterpart Frank-Walter Steinmeier to declare that the main pillar on which the future of Europe can and must be based on is its European Cultural Heritage and its global impact.
Europe must go forward, Europe must complete its mission, Pavlopoulos underlined and added: It owes that not only to its people, but to the entire humanity because it is the only one that can defend the principles which will protect the planet from problems without return. In that framework, the Greek spirit is meeting with the German spirit in order to defend their natural position in the European Cultural Heritage.
On his part, German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier said that although the title “Learning from Athens” seems reasonable as this is the cradle of Democracy, the exhibition focuses on the present and the political and economic problems that we need to overcome.
“The organisation of the exhibition in two so different European countries means that we have different perspectives, and we are aware of both our own perspective and the foreign one. We have already learnt a lot from Athens.”
A German who is trying to understand a Greek will see the difficulties that Greece is experiencing. A Greek that is aware of its European partners’ perspective will see that the efforts to support Greece is an unprecedented act of solidarity in the European history.
Steinmeier also referred to the role of critic in the Greek democracy. “Critic is a basic feature of democracy. The origin of the word is Greek, it is a Greek heritage,” he stated.