hasenkamp Fine Art

A logistics adventure called Documenta

hasenkamp has been part of the Documenta art show in Kassel for 50 years. The contemporary art presented there always offers something surprising - not only for logistics experts.

Cologne/Frechen, 07 June 2022 - To the question "What is art?" the cabaret artist Jürgen Becker once gave the simple answer: "Art is everything that Hasenkamp transports." When Documenta opens its doors for the 15th time in Kassel in mid-June, it will once again be the hub of contemporary art. The logistical contribution to this has been made by a team of twelve Hasenkamp employees with a good three months' lead time - from art packers to customs and insurance experts to the project coordinators, who ensure the smooth transport from A to B. The fact that this year's Documenta extends over 32 exhibition venues in four Kassel city areas is both a challenge and an incentive for the logistics experts. This is where experience and expertise pay off: For Hasenkamp, this is already the tenth Documenta - the first was Documenta 5 in 1972.

"The concept of each Documenta also defines the logistical demands on the forwarding agent. Sometimes works of art are only completed on site, sometimes the transport planning changes spontaneously because the art object is, for example, an expansive sculpture instead of the announced painting. It's all happened before. Or we clarify import regulations and groups of goods with customs, even for unusual goods such as ashes," says Thomas Schneider, managing director of Hasenkamp, recounting his experience with Documenta exhibitions.

Sea and air freight from over 20 countries

The Hasenkamp Group's art department has several hundred employees in 30 countries. This makes it one of the leading art logistics providers that move cultural goods worldwide. "In order to prepare such a large and complex project as Documenta logistically, in addition to the technical expertise and the logistical means, you need above all the commitment and passion of the art packers on site - and a bit of a sense of adventure," says Thomas Schneider. And he goes on to explain: "Our staff find practical solutions that are spontaneously adapted to the spatial conditions, develop holding systems and foundations that make even heavy objects appear light and naturally suited to the location." 

For this year's Documenta Fifteen, Hasenkamp alone transported around 18 tonnes of material from over 20 countries from Australia to Uzbekistan and Vietnam to Kassel. The works and materials of the artists arrived in Germany by sea and air freight. Before they find their final destination at Documenta, the art objects are temporarily stored at Hasenkamp in Frankfurt. From there, logisticians deliver them on schedule according to plan and capacity - and often install them directly under the supervision of the artist, curator and registrar. 

When the Documenta ends after 100 days, some artworks remain on site - others then start their return journey all over the world. For Hasenkamp, this means once again: packing up and transporting the goods safely from B to A by ship, plane and truck.  

The Documenta Fifteen

From 18 June to 25 September 2022, Documenta Fifteen will take place under the artistic direction of Ruangrupa at various locations in Kassel. The collective from Jakarta has based the fifteenth edition of Documenta on the values and ideas of the so-called Lumbung, the Indonesian term for a communal rice barn. As an artistic and economic model, lumbung is based on principles such as collectivity, communal resource building and equitable distribution, and is realised in all areas of cooperation and exhibition conception.

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About hasenkamp

The logistics company Hasenkamp, founded in 1903, is managed in the 5th generation by its owners Hans Ewald Schneider and Dr. Thomas Georg Schneider and by Ralf Ritscher. In addition to its headquarters on the Cologne city border in Frechen, the family-owned company has more than 40 locations worldwide. Around 1,000 employees lend a hand when it comes to planning, transport and storage of sensitive and valuable goods. Today, tradition and innovation at Hasenkamp are based on a regularly audited DIN and ISO certified quality, environmental and energy management process. This points the company's way into a sustainable future. Hasenkamp divides its activities into four business units: Fine Art, Relocation, Archive Depot and Final Mile Services.

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Benjamin Pauwels
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