Beyond Compare: Art from Africa in the Bode-Museum

27.10.2017 to 02.06.2019
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.

Exhibition website

For more impressions of the exhibition, simply search for the hashtag #BeyondCompare on popular social media channels such as Facebook and Instagram.

Angebote für

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

Sat 29.09.2018 03:00 pm
Bode-Museum
Public tour | Tandem guided tour
More Dates : Sat 06.10.2018   Sat 20.10.2018   Sat 03.11.2018   Mehr

Bildnis eines jugendlichen Prinzen. Germain Pilon (1535 - 1590.02.03, Paris), oder Umkreis, Bildhauer, um 1555, Paris
© Skulpturensammlung und Museum für Byzantinische Kunst der Staatlichen Museen zu Berlin - Preußischer Kulturbesitz

Thu 18.10.2018 06:00 pm
Bode-Museum
Tandem guided tour

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

Thu 18.10.2018 06:00 pm
Bode-Museum
Curator tour | Tandem guided tour

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

Sat 10.11.2018 04:00 pm
Bode-Museum
Tandem guided tour

Auch interessant

Writer and academic Patrice Nganang in discussion at the Bode-Museum
© Patrice Nganang
Bode-Museum

Postcolonial Discourse: Patrice Nganang in Conversation in Berlin

Opening of ‘being different’
© Staatliche Museen zu Berlin / Juliane Eirich, 2018
Bode-Museum

Student exhibition ‘being different’ in the Bode-Museum until 19 August 2018

An app user at the exhibition Beyond Compare: Art from Africa in the Bode-Museum
© Staatliche Museen zu Berlin / Fabian Fröhlich
Bode-Museum

A New app, a comprehensive education and outreach programme, and over 60,000 visitors to Beyond Compare: Art from Africa in the Bode-Museum

Prof. Dr. Michael Eissenhauer, Generaldirektor der Staatlichen Museen zu Berlin und Direktor der Gemäldegalerie sowie Skulpturensammlung und Museum für Byzantinische Kunst
© Staatliche Museen zu Berlin / Daniel Hofer
Museumsinsel Berlin

Interview with Michael Eissenhauer: ‘Comprehending the World in its Entirety’

Aktionstag: Auf dem Weg zum Humboldt Forum
© Staatliche Museen zu Berlin
Museumsinsel Berlin

Activities Day
On the Way to the Humboldt Forum

On view is: Beyond Compare: Art from Africa in the Bode Museum, exhibition view
© Staatliche Museen zu Berlin / David von Becker
Bode-Museum

Modifications for "Beyond Compare: Art from Africa in the Bode-Museum": The Bode-Museum will close on 26th October 2017 at 5 pm

Visitor entrance

Am Kupfergraben, Eingang über die Monbijoubrücke
10117 Berlin

vollständig rollstuhlgeeignet

U-Bahn U6 (Friedrichstraße)
S-Bahn S1, S2, S25, S26 (Friedrichstraße); S3, S5, S7, S9 (Hackescher Markt)
Tram M1, 12 (Am Kupfergraben); M4, M5, M6 (Hackescher Markt)
Bus TXL (Staatsoper); 100, 200 (Lustgarten); 147 (Friedrichstraße)

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Sun 10:00 - 18:00
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The Gobelins tapestry room is only open on weekends and public holidays.

The upstairs galleries of the permanent exhibitions including the exhibtion "Syria Antiqua - Coins and Monuments on the Museumsinsel" open at 11:00 a.m.

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