Documenta14 & the Concept of Textuality

Language and semiotics or more precisely Documenta10’s concept of textuality was Szymczyk’s main tool of developing Documenta14’s  project. Textuality according to poststructuralism means that the source of a text is another text, a subtext which indicates something totally different from what usually is and it works against and undermines a text’s potential meaning; it questions the power and ideologies and problematizes what we know and how we know (Tansell, 1993). Szymczyk chose the concept of textuality which assumes the impossibility of thought without language (Tansell, 1993).

Szymczyk argued that the assigned reference of the main title  Learning from Athens as working title (which remained as working title until the end of the project) denoted the process of the experience that all the participants of this project were going to acquire (Szymczyk, 2015a). The title also had multiple layers of understanding it, such as its inspiration came from the title of the book Learning from Las Vegas, which its main theme was how the modern movement in architecture used decoration in order to convey meaning. In the case of Athens, its antiquity was used to establish the credentials of Western civilization (Szymczyk, 2015a). Another layer was that by choosing the word learning he wanted to emphasize the concept of hospitality without preconditions that can open up conversations that it is nonhierarchical (Koskina and Szymczyk, 2017). -“Documenta14: Learning From Athens: How to Unlearn What to Expect From A Contemporary Art Exhibition” MA Thesis by A.Mexi, January, 2018



Tanselle, T. (1993) A Rationale of Textual Criticism New Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry & Poetics [ebook] . [Accessed 14 November 2017].

Szymczyk, A. (2015a) 1955-20155 A Documenta Century [Online video] Available from : [Accessed 10 November 2017].

Koskina, K. and Szymczyk, A. (2017) Double Gambit : Katerina Koskina and Adam Szymczyck in conversation with Domenick Ammirati [Online] Available from: [Accessed 12 October 2017].