The 270 works featured in this sophisticated, large-scale exhibition, curated by Ezio Bassani, Lorenz Homberger, Gigi Pezzoli and Claudia Zevi, illustrate the different ways in which the West has responded to the plastic arts of Africa.
27 march / 30 august 2015
MUDEC museo delle culture - Via Tortona 56, Milano
A century after the discovery of “art nègre” by artists of the early French and German avant-garde movements, we have now moved beyond the debate that for so long contrasted the universalism of the aesthetic vision with the localism of the ethnographic view of the object as a ‘document’, thus losing the autonomy of its aesthetic dimension.
The time has now come to see African art as a complex system made up of connections between the worlds of human beings and spirits, of interpenetration and relational constructions between the products of culture and the course of nature.
The traditional art of Black Africa attests to the indissoluble coexistence of a formal quality of “pure art” based on specific aesthetic canons with the manifold wealth of religious beliefs, rites and manifestations of power continuing all the way to the objects of everyday life of the different peoples involved.
The exhibition is divided into different sections each addressing a specific theme: the formal quality expressed by fifty of the most important and monumental masterpieces of African art, the objects once displayed in the cabinets of curiosities of European courts, and the artistic objects produced in Africa.
Together with a selection of everyday utensils presented as original examples of design, ritual and magical figures, masks, fetishes and objects of power will offer visitors a wholly new and unexpected view of the cultural and poetic universe of the African continent.
Finally, the new frontiers of research into African art are documented in specific sections that address questions of dating and the identification of various masters.