Beyond Compare: Art from Africa in the Bode-Museum

27.10.2017 until further notice
Bode-Museum

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.

Every visit to a museum prompts viewers to compare and interpret objects, but what does it mean to identify similarities and differences?

The exhibition raises several questions. What insights can we gain from the joint display of works of art with different histories? What are the consequences of assigning to separate museums objects that once all belonged together in the collection of the Kunstkammer of Brandenburg-Prussia? Why were some of these objects classified as ethnological artefacts and others as works of art? The implicit process of comparing, separating, and assigning objects to different collections was a fundamental step in the foundation of the Berlin museums and the definition of their respective missions. In the process many objects from Africa were defined as ethnological artefacts, while other objects of comparable artistry from European ritual contexts remained in art museums.

The act of comparing and identifying is therefore not neutral, but charged with socially defined prejudices, conventions, and constructions of history. It also governed by the experiences of the individuals who draw the comparisons. Defining two things as similar or different is often related to power. The process of comparison is thus closely tied to questions of collection history, aesthetics, colonialism, and gender. The exhibition and the accompanying app will illuminate these themes from a variety of perspectives.

These masterpieces of African art will remain on view at the Bode-Museum until the installation of the Staatliche Museen’s non-European collections in the Humboldt Forum. The presentation invites viewers to question their own approach to the process of comparison.

The exhibition is made possible by generous support from the Kuratorium Preußischer Kulturbesitz.

Offers for

© Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Skulpturensammlung und Museum für Byzantinische Kunst, Antje Voigt / Ethnologisches Museum, Martin Franken

04.11.2017 15:00 Uhr
Bode-Museum
Tandem guided tour

© Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Skulpturensammlung und Museum für Byzantinische Kunst, Foto: Jörg P. Anders und Ethnologisches Museum, Foto: Martin Franken

11.11.2017 15:00 Uhr
Bode-Museum
Tandem guided tour

© Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Skulpturensammlung und Museum für Byzantinische Kunst, Antje Voigt / Ethnologisches Museum, Claudia Obrocki

16.11.2017 18:00 Uhr
Bode-Museum
Curator tour

© Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Skulpturensammlung und Museum für Byzantinische Kunst, Antje Voigt / Ethnologisches Museum, Martin Franken

18.11.2017 15:00 Uhr
Bode-Museum
Tandem guided tour

© Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Ethnologisches Museum, Claudia Obrocki / Skulpturensammlung und Museum für Byzantinische Kunst, Antje Voigt

22.11.2017 15:00 Uhr
Kulturforum
Academy: lectures on art and cultur (over several days)

© Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Skulpturensammlung und Museum für Byzantinische Kunst, Antje Voigt / Ethnologisches Museum, Martin Franken

02.12.2017 15:00 Uhr
Bode-Museum
Tandem guided tour

© Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Skulpturensammlung und Museum für Byzantinische Kunst, Foto: Jörg P. Anders und Ethnologisches Museum, Foto: Martin Franken

09.12.2017 15:00 Uhr
Bode-Museum
Tandem guided tour

© Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Skulpturensammlung und Museum für Byzantinische Kunst, Antje Voigt / Ethnologisches Museum, Martin Franken

16.12.2017 15:00 Uhr
Bode-Museum
Tandem guided tour

© Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Skulpturensammlung und Museum für Byzantinische Kunst, Antje Voigt / Ethnologisches Museum, Martin Franken

30.12.2017 15:00 Uhr
Bode-Museum
Tandem guided tour

© Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Skulpturensammlung und Museum für Byzantinische Kunst, Antje Voigt / Ethnologisches Museum, Martin Franken

06.01.2018 15:00 Uhr
Bode-Museum
Tandem guided tour

© Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Skulpturensammlung und Museum für Byzantinische Kunst, Antje Voigt / Ethnologisches Museum, Martin Franken

20.01.2018 15:00 Uhr
Bode-Museum
Tandem guided tour

© Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Skulpturensammlung und Museum für Byzantinische Kunst, Antje Voigt / Ethnologisches Museum, Martin Franken

03.02.2018 15:00 Uhr
Bode-Museum
Tandem guided tour

© Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Skulpturensammlung und Museum für Byzantinische Kunst, Antje Voigt / Ethnologisches Museum, Martin Franken

17.02.2018 15:00 Uhr
Bode-Museum
Tandem guided tour

© Staatlichen Museen zu Berlin / Valerie Schmidt

24.10.2017 10:00 Uhr
Bode-Museum
Workshop (several days)

© Staatlichen Museen zu Berlin / Valerie Schmidt

28.09.2017 16:00 Uhr
Bode-Museum
Kid's academy

© Staatlichen Museen zu Berlin / Valerie Schmidt

05.10.2017 16:00 Uhr
Bode-Museum
Kid's academy

© Staatlichen Museen zu Berlin / Valerie Schmidt

12.10.2017 16:00 Uhr
Bode-Museum
Kid's academy

© Staatlichen Museen zu Berlin / Valerie Schmidt

19.10.2017 16:00 Uhr
Bode-Museum
Kid's academy

© Staatlichen Museen zu Berlin / Valerie Schmidt

28.10.2017 14:00 Uhr
Bode-Museum
Workshop (one-day)

© Staatlichen Museen zu Berlin / Valerie Schmidt

01.11.2017 10:00 Uhr
Bode-Museum
Workshop (several days)

© Staatlichen Museen zu Berlin / Valerie Schmidt

09.11.2017 16:00 Uhr
Bode-Museum
Kid's academy

© Staatlichen Museen zu Berlin / Valerie Schmidt

11.11.2017 14:00 Uhr
Bode-Museum
Workshop (one-day)

© Staatlichen Museen zu Berlin / Valerie Schmidt

16.11.2017 16:00 Uhr
Bode-Museum
Kid's academy

© Staatlichen Museen zu Berlin / Valerie Schmidt

23.11.2017 16:00 Uhr
Bode-Museum
Kid's academy

© Staatlichen Museen zu Berlin / Valerie Schmidt

25.11.2017 14:00 Uhr
Bode-Museum
Workshop (one-day)

© Staatlichen Museen zu Berlin / Valerie Schmidt

30.11.2017 16:00 Uhr
Bode-Museum
Kid's academy

© Staatlichen Museen zu Berlin / Valerie Schmidt

07.12.2017 16:00 Uhr
Bode-Museum
Kid's academy

© Staatlichen Museen zu Berlin / Valerie Schmidt

09.12.2017 14:00 Uhr
Bode-Museum
Workshop (one-day)

© Staatlichen Museen zu Berlin / Valerie Schmidt

14.12.2017 16:00 Uhr
Bode-Museum
Kid's academy

© Staatlichen Museen zu Berlin / Valerie Schmidt

23.12.2017 14:00 Uhr
Bode-Museum
Workshop (one-day)

© Staatlichen Museen zu Berlin / Valerie Schmidt

13.01.2018 14:00 Uhr
Bode-Museum
Workshop (one-day)

© Staatlichen Museen zu Berlin / Valerie Schmidt

27.01.2018 14:00 Uhr
Bode-Museum
Workshop (one-day)

© Staatlichen Museen zu Berlin / Valerie Schmidt

10.02.2018 14:00 Uhr
Bode-Museum
Workshop (one-day)

© Staatlichen Museen zu Berlin / Valerie Schmidt

24.02.2018 14:00 Uhr
Bode-Museum
Workshop (one-day)

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