Hesse: Kassel: documenta preparations on the home stretch

A few days before the opening of documenta fifteen, preparations for the world art exhibition are in full swing.

Hesse: Kassel: documenta preparations on the home stretch

A few days before the opening of documenta fifteen, preparations for the world art exhibition are in full swing. Numerous posts are already visible and the city is dressing up.

Kassel (dpa/lhe) - Final sprint in the preparations for documenta fifteen: The Kassel world art exhibition begins on Saturday. Organizers, the city, hoteliers and restaurateurs are putting the finishing touches on preparing for the visit of hundreds of thousands of art fans. The pre-sale figures show that they are to be expected: "We have now sold more than 54,000 tickets, which is considerably more than at the same time in 2017 for the last documenta," says Henriette Sölter, spokeswoman for documenta fifteen. For comparison: Before documenta 14 in 2017, according to Sölter, there were 20,000 tickets in mid-May. At that time, a total of around 891,500 visitors came to Kassel.

"The preparations are still going according to plan and everyone involved is looking forward to meeting each other and the guests of documenta fifteen in Kassel from Saturday, exchanging ideas and practicing lumbung together," emphasizes Sölter. "lumbung" is the Indonesian word for a communal rice barn where the surplus harvest is stored for the benefit of the community. The Ruangrupa team of curators from Indonesia wants to transfer this tradition of sharing to the world art exhibition in Kassel.

According to Sölter, the contributions to the exhibition are currently being completed and the program for the 100 days of the documenta, including the opening and various events, is being coordinated. Places like the central Welcome Center in the Ruruhaus - according to Ruangrupa the living room of documenta fifteen - are currently being equipped. Among other things, visitors can find information there, get an insight into the work on the documenta, book tickets and tours of the exhibition and linger in a café.

The city is also being spruced up. "The Environment and Gardens Office mows and cleans the inner-city green areas before the start of the d15. Colorful flowerbeds are already blooming in various places," says spokesman Sascha Stiebing. The city cleaners are currently in action, for example to clean surfaces, squares and streets and to set up garbage cans. All urban documenta outdoor works from previous exhibitions have been inspected and, depending on their condition, cleaned or restored. According to Stiebing, pedestrian routes and traffic control are currently being signposted, closures for the opening events are being prepared and no-parking zones are being identified.

The Nordhessische Verkehrsbetriebe (NVV) are also preparing for crowds of visitors. "During the previous world art exhibitions, we welcomed around three quarters of a million additional passengers. We therefore expect at least this growth for the d15," says spokeswoman Heidi Hamdad. With line d15, an additional bus line has therefore been prepared. It will connect the city center with the exhibition venues in eastern Kassel.

The hotel industry still sees room for improvement. "The booking situation has been relatively restrained so far. International traffic is not that strong at the moment," says Oliver Kasties, Managing Director of the German Hotel and Restaurant Association (Dehoga) in North and East Hesse. He attributes this primarily to uncertainties caused by the corona pandemic. "But that will pick up. The documenta has to start first," he is certain.

The companies are more concerned about the lack of staff. "The tendency was already there before the pandemic, but it has accelerated the problem," explains Kasties. The restaurateurs are currently placing more job advertisements and, if in doubt, adapt to the situation. "Some make the map smaller, others change the opening times." Kasties is still confident. "I think the companies have adjusted well to the documenta. They already know that from previous exhibitions and know that they have 100 days of high season ahead of them."

Alongside the Venice Biennale, the documenta is the most important presentation of contemporary art. The 15th edition takes place from June 18th to September 25th in Kassel.

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