a performative intervention and educational session at the Documenta 12, Kassel

Drawing Lesson was conceived of as a performative intervention as well as a questioning tool, for use in educational session at the Documenta 12 exhibition in Kassel, Germany. Teachers and students from the Trondheim Art Academy (KIT) were motivated and inspired by Documenta 12’s exhibition invitation, which highlighted education as one of the project’s central motifs, and asked audiences not only to visit and observe, but to actively participate. The KIT group gathered in Documenta Halle to negotiate a dialectics of aesthetic and political experience made manifest by artist Peter Friedl in the form (and metaphor) of a stuffed giraffe. The dead animal, a victim of the military conflict in the West Bank, has half-shut eyes and a ratty coat, and appears to have been stuffed by an amateur taxidermist. Friedl suggested the giraffe was a migrating form, something more real than the flood of photographic images that emerge from media coverage of the war zone.

The Drawing Lesson locates intervention within a pedagogical context and responds to the artist’s open invitation to invent a story that will take on new meaning. In an effort to study institutional hegemony as well as the exhibition’s educational ambitions, the Drawing Lesson employs a notion of conflict as a performative strategy as well as a methodological tool.

concept: Nomeda and Gediminas Urbonas; participants: students and faculty at Trondheim Academy of Fine Art, KIT, Norway; the Documenta 12 staff; visitors to Documenta Halle; two policemen from the Kassel Police Department.