German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier (L) and Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos visit the international contemporary art exhibition Documenta 14 in Athens, Greece on April 8, 2017. Steinmeier and Pavlopoulos inaugurated on Saturday the international contemporary art exhibition Documenta 14 in Athens, praising the initiative to further boost the unity of Europeans through Art. (Xinhua/Marios Lolos)
ATHENS, April 8 (Xinhua) -- German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier and his Greek counterpart Prokopis Pavlopoulos inaugurated on Saturday the international contemporary art exhibition Documenta 14 in Athens, praising the initiative to further boost the unity of Europeans through Art.
The prestigious exhibition, which was launched in Kassel in Germany in 1955, is held every five years. It is the first time in its history that documenta is co-hosted by Kassel and another European city.
The choice of the Greek capital highlights, according to the organizers, two different faces of Europe which can gain from each other. It is no coincidence this year's event was entitled "Learning from Athens".
"The European Union is not a perfectly developed organization, but has the ability to keep learning," the German President said opening the exhibition with Pavlopoulos at the National Museum of Contemporary Art in Athens, according to Greek national news agency AMNA.
"This world is full of ideas and excitement because it is created through dialogue, by viewing the world from different points of view. We should see the world through other peoples' eyes. I am glad that we launch this dialogue with the inauguration of Documenta in Athens," Frank-Walter Steinmeier added addressing the event.
"The basic pillar upon which the future and unification of Europe can and should be based on is the European civilization and its global impact. Europe must move forward, Europe must complete its mission. It is an obligation not only towards Europeans, but to the entire international community," Pavlopoulos said, according to an e-mailed press statement issued by his office.
"Art unites, art builds bridges, combines contrasts and triggers dialogue," Greek Culture Minister Lydia Koniordou said in her speech.
More than 160 artists participate in the exhibition which extends in more than 40 museums, university halls, libraries and open squares across Athens.
Visitors can choose between a large variety of music, dance and theater performances, happenings, workshops and permanent art installations until July 16.
On June 10 the German leg of Documenta 14 kicks off in Kassel and will run until Sept. 17.
According to the artistic director of Documenta 14 Adam Szymczyk participants have already learned a lesson from Athens while working to prepare the exhibition and this is the message they want to send across the world.
"What did we learn from Athens? That we all must abandon our prejudices and plunge into the darkness of not knowing," Szymczyk told AMNA before the opening.