Harald Kimpel

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Harald Kimpel (born January 29, 1950 in Kassel ) is a German art scholar . His areas of work are: everyday culture , the history of documenta and contemporary art .


After graduating from high school, Kimpel studied art education from 1970 to 1975 at the University of Fine Arts in Kassel , and then from 1975 to 1980 art history , classical archeology and European ethnology at the Philipps University in Marburg . In 1996 he was at Berthold Hinz and Walter Grasskamp with a thesis on the history of documenta doctorate .

From 1980 to 2015 Kimpel worked as a research assistant at the cultural office of the city of Kassel in various functions. He was head of the exhibition department, employed in the management of the documenta archive and in the department for cultural funding and advice. In addition, he works as a curator of themed exhibitions and as an author with a focus on the history of the documenta, contemporary art, everyday and cultural history .

Kimpel is an associated scientist in the documenta archiv Kassel and since 2018 chairman of the Kurhessische Gesellschaft für Kunst und Wissenschaft Kassel eV .

Harald Kimpel also deals with the work of Jürgen von der Wense .

Exhibitions (selection)

  • Art in the context of advertising. Kassel 1982, catalog
  • Future spaces. Imagery and world views of science fiction . Kassel 1984, catalog
  • Sky scribe. Dimensions of a volatile medium. Kassel 1986, catalog
  • Aversion / acceptance. Public art and public opinion. Outdoor installations from the documenta past. Kassel 1992, catalog
  • The vertical danger. Air War in Art. Kassel 1993, catalog
  • Internal security: bunker aesthetics. Marburger Kunstverein 2006, catalog
  • Skinscapes. The art of the body surface. Marburger Kunstverein 2009, catalog
  • art @ science. Three positions in the aesthetics of science. Ulysses Belz, Ingrid Hermentin, Norbert Pümpel. Marburger Kunstverein October - December 2014, accompanying book / catalog

Fonts (selection)


  • 1984. How to deal with a date. In: Hildegund Amanshauser (Ed.): 1984. Orwell and the present. Museum Moderner Kunst, Vienna 1984, pp. 119–127 (catalog of the exhibition of the same name, May 10 to July 8, 1984).
  • At the melting point of art. Ice as a material and subject of aesthetic concepts. In: Hans-Christian Täubrich u. a. (Ed.): Below zero. Artificial ice, cold and culture. Beck, Munich 1991, ISBN 3-406-35244-8 , pp. 232–249 (catalog of the exhibition of the same name, Museum Industriekultur (Nuremberg), May 4 to July 28, 1991).
  • The tunnel as will and idea. Visits to imaginary construction sites. In: Elmar Altwasser u. a .: tunnel. Places of breakthrough. Jonas-Verlag, Marburg 1992, ISBN 3-89445-134-3 , pp. 54-69.
  • with Johanna Werckmeister: Beauty as the Beast. On the iconography of the Sphinx. In: Helmut Kreuzer (ed.): Don Juan and Femme fatale. Fink-Verlag, Munich 1994, ISBN 3-7705-2986-3 , pp. 117-225
  • Of amphibians and people. The fire salamander in art. In: Behernd Hohorst: The Salamander. A terrible animal. On the natural and cultural history of the fire salamander. Rheinland-Verlag, Cologne 1997, ISBN 3-7927-1645-3 , pp. 39-79 (exhibition catalog).
  • Floor plans and demolitions. Imaginary urbanity between ideal and apocalypse. In: Werner Heunoske u. a. (Ed.): The invention of the city. From Babylon to the Global City. Stadtmuseum, Erlangen 2002, ISBN 3-930035-05-7 , pp. 35–46 (catalog of the exhibition of the same name, September 29 to December 30, 2002).
  • with Johanna Werckmeister: Suffering motifs. Possibilities of the artistic reception of the Nibelungen since 1945. In: Joachim Heinzle u. a. (Ed.): The Nibelungs. Saga, epic, myth. Reichert-Verlag, Wiesbaden 2003, ISBN 3-89500-347-6 , pp. 637-656
  • The unhoused exhibition. documenta in search of its architecture. In: Michael Glasmeier (Ed.): Archive in motion. documenta manual. 50 years of documenta. Steidl Verlag, Göttingen 2007, ISBN 978-3-86521-398-3 , pp. 68-76 ( Fridericianum ).
  • Werner Haftmann and the "Spirit of French Art". In: Martin Schieder, Isabella Ewig (Ed.): Thrown into freedom. Positions on Franco-German art history after 1945. Akademie-Verlag, Berlin 2006, ISBN 978-3-05-004182-7 , pp. 129–150.
  • documenta. The advancing avant-garde . In: Johannes Kirschenmann, Florian Matzner (eds.): Documenta Kassel. Sculpture Munster, Venice Biennale. Edition kopaed, Munich 2007, ISBN 978-3-86736-113-2 , pp. 9–43.
  • Oversights. Bunker aesthetics between camouflage and warning. In: Inge Marßolek , Marc Buggeln (Ed.): Bunker. War site, refuge, memory space. Campus-Verlag, Frankfurt / M. 2008, ISBN 978-3-593-38603-4 , pp. 293-307.
  • “A tremendous, overwhelming experience!” Hans Jürgen von der Wense visits the documenta. In: text + criticism . Issue 185: Hans Jürgen von der Wense . Edition Text + Critique, Munich 2010, ISBN 978-3-86916-043-6 , pp. 64–82.
  • Beyond the meteorological: Wenses clouds. , In: Andreas Gebhardt / Karl-Heinz Nickel (ed.): Hans Jürgen von der Wense. Influences-effects-inspirations. Kassel, university press 2012, pp. 9–24
  • Beyond the Occident: Visions of a New World Art. The documenta under pressure from globalization. In: Ariane Hellinger u. a. (Ed.): Politics in art and art in politics. Springer SV, Wiesbaden 2013, ISBN 978-3-531-17590-4 , pp. 181-209
  • Accessible art. Coming and going in pictures. In: Barbara Lutz-Sterzenbach u. a. (Ed.): Image and education. Practice, reflection, knowledge in the context of art and media. kopaed, Munich 2014, ISBN 978-3-86736-140-8 , pp. 367-378
  • The self-perceived vulnerability of human existence. Wols, the documenta and the "cosmic jargon" . In: Wols . Departure after 1945. Michael Imhof Verlag Petersberg 2014, ISBN 978-3-7319-0019-1 , pp. 74–85 (catalog of the exhibition of the same name, Museumslandschaft Hessen Kassel, Neue Galerie, March 14 to June 15, 2014)
  • The curated traffic jam. The queue as a scenographic essential. In: Kai-Uwe Hemken (ed.): Critical scenography. The art exhibition in the 21st century. Transkript Verlag, Bielefeld 2015, ISBN 978-3-8376-2569-1 , pp. 417-429
  • The documenta design. The evolution of the striking self-portrayal of the Kassel world art exhibitions. In: POSTER KUNST KASSEL. Michael Imhof Verlag, Petersberg 2016, ISBN 978-3-7319-0384-0 , pp. 32–45 (catalog of the exhibition of the same name, Museumslandschaft Hessen Kassel, Neue Galerie, November 11, 2016 to March 5, 2017)
  • Hercules at the documenta: artistic approaches to a working hero. In: Joachim Schröder (Ed.): The Hercules. 300 years in Kassel. From landmark to world heritage. euregioverlag, Kassel 2017, ISBN 978-3-933617-67-5 , pp. 116–127
  • About the gradual creation of thoughts while walking. In: Daniele Dell'Agli (ed.): Hans Jürgen von der Wense. Force fields and correspondences. Verlag Winfried Jenior, Kassel 2018, ISBN 978-3-95978-043-8 , pp. 23-35
  • with Wolfgang Baumann and Friedrich Wilhelm Kniess: Fast food . A journey through the culinary province. Jonas-Verlag, Marburg 1980, ISBN 3-922561-05-5
  • with Karin Stengel: Photographic reconstructions. Edition Temmen, Bremen 1993/2007
  1. documenta 1 . First international art exhibition. 1993, ISBN 3-86108-514-3 (Documenta archive; 3).
  2. Documenta '59 . Art after 1945. 2000, ISBN 3-86108-523-2 (Documenta archive; 7).
  3. documenta III . International exhibition. 2005, ISBN 3-86108-528-3 (Documenta archive; 12).
  4. documenta 4 . 2007, ISBN 978-3-86108-524-9 (Documenta archive; 17).


  1. Kassel 1950-1991. 1991, ISBN 3-89445-109-2 .
  2. Kassel 1992-2005. 2007, ISBN 978-3-89445-347-3 .
  3. Kassel before 1943. 2007, ISBN 978-3-89445-348-0 .

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Max Lorenzen: Inner Security: Bunker Aesthetics ( Memento from November 28, 2007 in the Internet Archive ). In: Marburg Forum. Volume 7, Issue 6, 2006
  2. Currywurst with French fries , review by Stephan Oettermann in Spiegel , No. 16, April 13, 1981
  3. Düsseldorf drin , review in Spiegel , No. 22, May 29, 1995, p. 139
  4. ^ Documenta on the dissecting table, review by Alfred Nemeczek in art - Das Kunstmagazin , Issue 8, 1997, pp. 122–123
  5. Review by Ilse Stein in the Göttinger Tageblatt , May 27, 2002