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Documenta 14, Kassel, Germany 2017

Hiwa K
When We Were Exhaling Images, 2017

Documenta 14 is happening at this very moment. Here’s an image of a work by the Kurdish-Iraqi artist Hiwa K. It’s composed of vitrified clay pipes and various objects.

The work centers on the artists experience after fleeing northern Iraq on foot in the 1990s, too poor to afford a hotel room. Adam Szymczyk, the curator of Documenta 14, said “He walked on foot across Turkey and then ended up for a time being in the town of Patras (Greece) where he lived in these ceramic pipes that are used for canalization.”

To me the work is arresting in it’s depiction of personal space during crisis vs. personal space during times of peace. My husbands mother was a child in Germany during WWII and is taciturn with regard what she experienced. She did however once allude to the fact that what you consider acceptable personal space is altered forever once a war is experienced first-hand.


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