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The Rise (and Fall?) of the Postcolonial Documenta

Park Fiction, Park Fiction Archiv, 2002, exhibition view, documenta 11. Photograph: Ryszard Kasiewicz. © documenta archiv / Ryszard Kasiewicz. Courtesy documenta archiv
Sunil Shah reflects on the historical legacy of Documenta11 (2002), revisited in light of the recent edition of documenta fifteen (2022) and its critical reception. Locating in Okwui Enwezor’s paradigm-shifting exhibition the roots of a postcolonial turn that paved the way for ruangrupa’s appointment to the position of artistic directors, Shah wonders, however, whether postcolonial subjects working within a Western art context will ever be allowed to speak on their own terms.