Nanne Buurman
documenting documenta
Sign post in the Nordstadt, an increasingly gentrifying area with a large post-migrant population, giving direc-tions to the Museum Fridericianum during documenta 12 (2007). Scribbles and graffiti turn the institution’s name into a Turkish sounding “Müseüm Fridericianüm” and add directions to a local falafel place.
Photo: Nanne Buurman, 2007


As someone who worked for Documenta11 (2002), documenta 12 (2007), and consequently conducted in depth research at dOCUMENTA (13) (2012) and documenta 14 (2017), Nanne Buurman has assembled a broad archive of photos documenting documenta not just as an exhibition of artworks but also as a curatorial infrastructure and social event with material, social, political and economic implications within and beyond the institutionally defined walls and frameworks. Buurman – who has so far published on the history and present of documenta primarily in academic text formats – takes the post-documenta project as an excuse to browse through her personal archive of documenta pictures in order to engage with the traces and imprints of the event, its leftovers, remains and the scars that the exhibition has left in the city-scape of its host city Kassel (and Athens) over the past two decades. Using this footage, she plans to curate a visual essay in which the photographic indexing of the ephemeral, the marginal, the parergonal or the besides-the-point will call attention to the exhibitionary unconscious that haunts not just the institution’s official historiography but also the ways in which recurring events like documenta are imprinted into both, individual and collective memory.

Imprints of „d’occupy“ tents in the grass on Friedrichs-Square after the occupy activists had left the place where they had camped during dOCUMENTA (13) (2012), tolerated by the artistic directorship.
photo: Nanne Buurman, 2012
“Wound“ in the asphalt of Königs-Square where Olu Oguibe’s so-called obelisk used to be erected during docu-menta 14 (2017). The artwork was later transplanted from its original setting to Treppenstraße, a politically controversial displacement that involved rude attacks of the work by the right wing AfD party.
photo: Nanne Buurman, 2017

Nanne Buurman is an author and editor, educator and curator currently employed as an associate researcher and lecturer for documenta and exhibition studies at the Kunsthochschule Kassel, where she has been part of the team building the documenta Institut since 2018. In that capacity, she was involved in founding the Transdisciplinary Research Center for Exhibition Studies TRACES und is currently co-heading the research group on Nazi continuities at documenta. After graduating from Leipzig University, she was a member of the International Research Training Group InterArt at the Freie Universität Berlin and a visiting scholar at Goldsmiths College in London, supported by a DFG scholarship for her doctoral research on the gendered economies of curating. Buurman worked as an adjunct lecturer at  universities/art academies in Leipzig, Hildesheim and Bremen, and has been involved in numerous art education, exhibition, and publication projects most recently the curatorial research project in freiheit dressiert. being natural is simply a pose or the Networks of Care program that she currently co-curates at nGbK in Berlin. Her research and publications focus on exhibition studies, the politics, economies and epistemologies of curating, the past and present of documenta, the shifting roles of race, class, gender and labour in artistic and curatorial practice, the transcultural and technological conditions of cultural production in a global context as well as the political ambivalences of modernity and their uncanny hauntings today. She co-edited documenta: Curating the History of the Present (with Dorothee Richter, 2017), Situating Global Art: Temporalities – Topologies – Trajectories (with Sarah Dornhof, Birgit Hopfener and Barbara Lutz, 2018) and serves as an editor of the research platform documenta studies, which she co-founded with Nora Sternfeld, Carina Herring, and Ina Wudtke in October 2018.