4. January 2020

Body Performance - Ausstellung der Helmut Newton Stiftung - Teil 2

Viviane Sassen begeistert seit Jahren die Modefotowelt. Auch sie arbeitet in erster Linie mit dem menschlichen Körper, etwa indem...


31. December 2019

Body Performance - Ausstellung der Helmut Newton Stiftung - Teil 1

Performance ist eine eigenständige Kunstform, und die Fotografie ist ihr ständiger Begleiter. In dieser Gruppenausstellung werden...


Top-News  |  29. June 2017


Pablo PICASSO, small Nude with Raised Arms. from the Rear (study for les Demoiselles d'Avignon), May 1907. Oil on wood, 19.1 x 11.5 cm. © Photo RMNGP musée national Picasso, Paris Franck Rau

Chéri Samba, J'aime la couleur, 2003. Collection Fondation Louis Vuitton. © Chéri Samba. Photo © Claude Germain, Primae, ArtAfrique - le nouvel atelier

Aida Muluneh, The Wolf You Feed Part Two, 2014 Digital Photographic Print, 31 12 × 31 12 in 80 × 80 cm. Courtesy of David Krut Projects, 1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair New York 2017

Siwa Mgoboza, Les Etres D'Africadia, Masquer II, Art Afrika Fair 2017

Focusing on African Art

Africa has a very rich and diverse artistic heritage. Art has always played an essential role in the lives of African people and this is clearly reflected in the sheer variety of artfully elaborated objects for cultural, ritual and religious purposes, like wooden masks or richly adorned textiles and regalia.

At first glance, the term African art often conjures images of wooden animal figurines and brightly coloured textiles with tribal-specific patterns. But African art is much more than that – nowadays, the broad spectrum of African art ranges from traditional to modern and contemporary African art with the African continent and the African diaspora in the Americas and Europe as fertile ground for its unfoldment.

African art has as many different facets and we will discover some of them in this Art-Scene.TV special section.


"Negro art" and primitivism

Between 1890 and 1918, during the Western colonial expansion in Africa, many artworks were removed or stolen by traders and explorers and brought to Europe. Soon, almost every renowned museum in the USA had a permanent "negro art" exhibition and many European countries opened up show rooms to exhibit the "primitive art" of their colonial holdings.

During the early 20th century, the European cultural elite discovered African, Micronesian and Native American art. Artists such as Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso were intrigued and inspired by the stark power and simplicity of styles of those cultures. Their approaches gave rise to the so called "primitivism", an art movement that borrowed visual forms from non-European, and often especially African art. The exhibition "PICASSO PRIMITIF" at Galerie Jardin/Musée du Quai Branly examines the influences on non-western art in Picassos oeuvre.


The Rise of Contemporary African Art

Despite its enormous variety, contemporary art from Africa has only played a minor role on the global market in the past, but this is about to change: in the past few years, art fairs, special shows and exhibitions have sprung up all over the world and African art is carving a niche in the global art scene. On Art-Scene.TV we have presented the renowned "1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair" that showcases works of African artists and the African diaspora in its semi-annual shows in New York and London.

The Foundation Louis Vuitton, for example, is presenting the exhibition "Art/Afrique, le Nouvel Atelier" from April 26 to August 28, 2017. The three-part exhibition spotlights lesser known elements of the thriving African art scene with a series of fresh perspectives on artistic creativity and artists through an extensive choice of works.


African Art Straight out of Africa

But nevertheless, African art today maintains a strong and predominant presence in the West. Some of the most comprehensive collections of African art are located in European or American museums and almost every big art show focusing on Africa takes place outside the African continent and is organized by non-African curators. More and more African artists and galleries try to counterbalance this by seeking new approaches to display and spread their art from within their home countries.

In the past decade, Africans have founded different fairs - for example Art Africa in Cape Town - that focus on contemporary African art everywhere on the continent to actively challenge stereotypical understandings and to introduce and propagate new representations about Africa, from Africa.

Further exhibitions, fairs and shows about African Art will follow!

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