Spectral-White: The Appearance of Colonial-Era Europeans


2019, Nov 01, Fri — 2020, Jan 06, Mon

Unknown artist, Fright Figure «Kareau», Andamanen and Nikobaren, around 1900, Rautenstrauch-Joest-Museum, RJM 23331 | © Photo: Rheinisches Bildarchiv Köln, Wolfgang Meier, rba d029031

Unknown artist, Fright Figure «Kareau», Andamanen and Nikobaren, around 1900, Rautenstrauch-Joest-Museum, RJM 23331 | © Photo: Rheinisches Bildarchiv Köln, Wolfgang Meier, rba d029031

How were Europeans depicted in the art of the colonized? In his book The Savage Hits Back or the White Men through Native Eyes (1937), Cologne museum director and ethnologist Julius Lips (1895–1950) compiled portrayals that show Europeans as “exotics” and barbaric foreigners. In these objects Lips, who was driven into exile by the Nazis, discovered a subversive critique of the “colonial masters.” Given the current debates over colonial-era collections, Lips’ anticolonial and antifascist polemics seem highly up-to-the-minute.

The exhibition at Haus der Kulturen der Welt adopts Lips’ change of perspective and asks about the consequences of this first “inversive ethnology”. The exhibited objects and photographs address early contact stories, the entry of European commodities in local myths and rituals, the history of trade relations, mission and colonial wars.
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Curated by Anna Brus in collaboration with Anselm Franke.
Part of Kanon-Fragen

Exhibition

Nov 1, 2019–Jan 6, 2020
Opening Thu, Oct 31, 2019

Wed–Mon 12 noon – 7 pm
Thu until 10 pm
Closed on Tue, open on public holidays

Admission: 5€/3€, second visit included
Mon and for visitors under age 16: free admission

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