Foreign Gods. Tribal Art in the Context of Modernism

Pablo Picasso once said that he only realized »what painting is really about« when he saw the African masks at the Paris Musée d’Ethnographie. The exponents of the Expressionist artists’ group »Die Brücke« also derived inspiration from the collections of the ethnological museums for their own carvings and turned their studios into exotic refuges. However, in their quest for an ecstatic natural state they often overlooked the fact that these objects of tribal art especially are based on strict design principles. The Dadaists liked to present themselves at times as »wild« mask wearers and sneered at the habitus of the European man of culture. The Surrealists saw the art and myths of Oceania as media for exploring hidden realms of the unconscious mind. This interest in and reception of the art of »indigenous peoples« not only provided a formal alternative to bourgeois tastes but was also a symptom of a deep-rooted longing for a life reform.

Rudolf Leopold felt that the art of so-called »primitive« ethnicities was a priori Expressionist. It is hardly surprising, therefore, that his collection comprises more than 200 rare ancestral figures, dance masks, weapons, architectural sculptures and other extraordinary works from carvers from Africa and Oceania. This high-quality collection has recently been scientifically recorded and reviewed by the ethnologist Erwin Melchardt. Under this premise, the Leopold Collection’s compilation of tribal art will be presented for the first time in its entirety. At the same time, it will enter into stimulating dialogues with works by eminent representatives of Modernism, including Pablo Picasso, André Derain, Amedeo Modigliani, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Emil Nolde and Max Ernst.

This enthusiasm shown by the exponents of Classical Modernism for »primitive« forms of art is further contemplated and questioned in the exhibition as a cultural-sociological phenomenon through examples of post-Colonial discourse in contemporary art.

Venue

Leopold Museum

Museumsplatz 1
1070 Wien

Current Dates

  • Sun. 11 Dec 2016, 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.
  • Mon. 12 Dec 2016, 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.
  • Wed. 14 Dec 2016, 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.
  • Thu. 15 Dec 2016, 10 a.m. - 9 p.m.
  • Fri. 16 Dec 2016, 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.
  • Sat. 17 Dec 2016, 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.
  • Sun. 18 Dec 2016, 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.
  • Mon. 19 Dec 2016, 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.
  • Wed. 21 Dec 2016, 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.
  • Thu. 22 Dec 2016, 10 a.m. - 9 p.m.
All dates

All Dates

December

  • Fri. 23 Dec 2016, 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.
  • Sun. 25 Dec 2016, 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.
  • Mon. 26 Dec 2016, 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.
  • Tue. 27 Dec 2016, 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.
  • Wed. 28 Dec 2016, 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.
  • Thu. 29 Dec 2016, 10 a.m. - 9 p.m.
  • Fri. 30 Dec 2016, 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.
  • Sat. 31 Dec 2016, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.

January 2017

  • Sun. 01 Jan 2017, 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.
  • Mon. 02 Jan 2017, 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.
  • Tue. 03 Jan 2017, 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.
  • Wed. 04 Jan 2017, 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.
  • Thu. 05 Jan 2017, 10 a.m. - 9 p.m.
  • Fri. 06 Jan 2017, 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.
  • Sat. 07 Jan 2017, 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.
  • Sun. 08 Jan 2017, 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.
  • Mon. 09 Jan 2017, 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.