Africa is considered the cradle of humanity - all our ancestors come from there. Today the continent comprises more than 50 countries and has the world's widest range of languages and cultures. The exhibition presents impressive examples of traditional art from sub-Saharan Africa. The spectrum ranges from courtly bronzes from the realm of Benin, powerful power figures from the Congregation and centuries-old filigree Ivory carvings from West Africa to fascinating ancestral sculptures or masks from Mali to Tanzania. A special focus of the exhibition are works by international contemporary artists such as Romuald Hazoumé, El Loko, Pieter Hugo and Ransome Stanley.
When and how did they start working iron in Africa? It is clear from the archaeological findings that in 500 BC there were blacksmiths throughout the continent who melted copper and iron ore in clay kilns. Weapons made of iron gave their owners legal and religious authority, and they carried them, danced with them in ceremonies, waved them and threw them into the air. African blades were the currency of their owners' most precious possessions. The ceremonial swords and the weapons presented here are of the most special types, valued by their fine engraving, their ornaments and the composition of their materials.
Nearly as universal as war itself has been the inclination to decorate the weapons of war. People through time and in nearly all cultures have painstakingly embellished their weapons. From maces, clubs, daggers, and spears, to shields, helmets, and entire suits of armour, this exhibition offers more than 150 striking examples of weapons that are also extraordinary works of art.
Before colonization, complex hierarchical societies flourished in Central and West Africa. At their summits were a select few—kings and chiefs whose authority was derived from their direct connection to powerful ancestors and predecessors. These rulers were wrapped in expensive textiles or costly furs, and covered in beads and precious metals—materials that not only signaled their extraordinary status, but were also intended to safely contain the great power they wielded. The famous minkisi sculptures of Central Africa were similarly activated through the addition of charged materials. This exhibition explores the parallels between the adornment of the king’s physical body and minkisi. The exhibition demonstrates how authority was expressed and power contained across a range of historical cultures in Nigeria, Ghana, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Cameroon.
In the exhibition Power Mask guest curator Walter van Beirendonck shares his fascination for the worlds of masks. Van Beirendonck explores different functions of masks: the supernatural, rituals, African masks as an inspiration for modern art and masks in contemporary high fashion. The exhibition features works from artists, designers and photographers like Viktor & Rolf, Jean Paul Gaultier, Keith Haring and James Ensor amongst others.
Equatorial Africa has given the African arts some of its most outstanding masterpieces. From the plastic power of the Fang to the naturalist elegance of the Punu, a panorama of the main artistic styles of this vast region. In the heart of Atlantic Equatorial Africa, the cultural area encompassing the Gabonese Republic, the Republic of Equatorial Guinea, Southern Cameroon and the West of the Republic of Congo, is a region of great sculptural tradition. The plastic genius of the artists Fang, Kota, Tsogo and Punu is particularly illustrated in a religious sculpture linked to the cult of ancestors and the masks of spirit. Through a selection of emblematic - and often unique - works of major public and private collections, the exhibition proposes to study its main styles, in the manner of a "classical" art history. To explore the correspondences, mutations and peculiarities of the artistic production of the numerous groups inhabiting a vast area shaped by the migrations. To reveal, in short, the creativity and exceptional originality of the arts of each of the peoples of the Atlantic equatorial forest.
To celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Barbier-Mueller Museum, the late Michel Butor selected 100 masterpieces, some of them masterpieces, from the Museum's collections. Inspired by these receptacles of provenance, epochs, cultures and diverse materials, he wrote a poem for each of them after having first classified them by "rays" according to the role that their forms whispered to him. From the great civilizations of Antiquity, from major cultures in Africa, Oceania, the Americas and, to a lesser extent, from Asia, these receptacles will rub shoulders with contemporary Western vases, chosen by Michel Butor. Each piece will reflect the aesthetic criteria predominant in the culture from which it emerged, and will reveal information about the ritual or ceremonial context in which its use took place.
Over the course of 6 years of continued development and consolidation, artgenève has taken root in the Geneva Lake region, establishing itself as a high end and internationally renowned contemporary and modern art fair. The fair now wishes to enrich its artistic offering with the inclusion of Historic, Modern and Contemporary Design, and Tribal Art. The famous PAD, established 21 years ago in Paris in the Tuileries and expanded to Berkeley Square in London 11 years ago, will bring together 25 carefully selected galleries.
Dada, a prolific and subversive art movement, first emerged in Zurich during the First World War. Dada artists rejected the traditional values of civilisation, while appropriating the cultural and artistic forms of non-western cultures. The Musée de l’Orangerie is presenting an exhibition on these exchanges with African, American Indian and Asian works alongside those of the Dadaists - Hanna Höch, Jean Arp, Sophie Taeuber-Arp, Marcel Janco, Hugo Ball, Tristan Tzara, Raoul Haussmann, Man Ray and Picabia, among others.
This major exhibition will explore Pablo Picasso’s life-long fascination with African and Oceanic art, as well as works from the Americas, uniting his paintings and sculpture with art that fuelled his own creative exploration. In addition to paintings, sculpture, and drawings by Picasso, the exhibition will feature significant works of African and Oceanic art that transformed his artistic vision when he encountered them at the Musée d’ Ethnographie du Trocadéro (now Musée du Quai Branly – Jacques Chirac in Paris) during the early part of the 20th century. Visitors also will see works Picasso collected, lived with, and kept with him through numerous studio moves, still owned by his family, and others that are in the Picasso Museum in Paris.
Be dazzled by over 200 gleaming gold items of regalia, colorful and intricately woven silk kente cloth, ceremonial furniture, state swords, linguist staffs, and other significant objects related to Asante royals from the 19th through the 21st centuries. Founded around 1701 with wealth derived from the gold trade with North Africa and Europe, the Asante Kingdom was a very powerful polity in West Africa. The Power of Gold: Asante Royal Regalia from Ghana, inspired by works in the DMA’s collection and featuring objects from public and private collections, reveals the splendor of Asante regalia, much of which is made of gold.
The exhibition ‘Beyond Compare’ introduces superlative works of art from Africa from the Ethnologisches Museum into the peerless sculpture collection of the Bode Museum. Pairs of sculptures from both continents will be placed throughout the permanent collection and a special-exhibition gallery will address specific themes. The experimental juxtaposition of works from two continents reveals possible correlations on various levels, including historic contemporaneity, iconographic and technological similarities, and artistic strategies. Despite stylistic differences, striking similarities appear in the ways works of art function in both contexts. Power figures from the Congo were used to protect villages and communities, just as Gothic depictions of the Virgin of Mercy were. At the same time comparisons also expose contrasts, as with depictions of motherhood, which rely on different visual languages in Africa and Europe and convey different messages.