The documenta 1955 did not take place in a vacuum. It took place in a specific time, in a specific place, and was made possible and shaped by specific actors: In what context, then, did the Kassel art exhibition emerge and establish itself? What idea did the exhibition organizers have of their recent past, what interpretations did they draw on, and where did they locate themselves in their present? Finally, what significance did concepts such as democracy or freedom, which are still closely linked to the documenta today, have for post-war society, and to what extent are they themselves subject to change?
Claudia C. Gatzka received her doctorate from Humboldt University in Berlin. Her excellent dissertation, entitled „Die Demokratie der Wähler. Stadtgesellschaft und politische Kommunikation in Italien und der Bundesrepublik“ (The Democracy of Voters. Urban Society and Political Communication in Italy and the Federal Republic), was published in 2019. Since 2015, she has worked as a research assistant/academic councilor (ret.) with Jörn Leonhard at the Albert Ludwigs University of Freiburg. In 2020, she co-edited the book „Schleichend an die Macht. How the New Right Instrumentalizes History." She is currently conducting research, funded by the Gerda Henkel Foundation, on political representations of the "people" in the Federal Republic after 1945.
Maria Neumann studied history, political science and economics in Berlin, Potsdam and Wrocław. She worked at the Humboldt University in Berlin as a research assistant at the Chair of 20th Century European History, where she completed her dissertation on „Die Religion der Anderen. Religiöse Vergesellschaftung und Kalter Krieg im geteilten Berlin-Brandenburg, 1945-1990“ (The Religion of the Others. Religious Socialization and the Cold War in Divided Berlin-Brandenburg, 1945-1990). She has been a fellow at the documenta Institute since 2021.