Eric Otieno Sumba in conversation with Alice Hasters and Aya Soika
The Brücke artists lived at a time when the German Empire was one of the largest colonial powers in Europe. Erich Heckel, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Emil Nolde, Max Pechstein, and Karl Schmidt-Rottluff were inspired by visits to ethnological museums. In particular, they used the stylistic elements of African and Oceanic sculptures as inspiration for their art, without reflecting on colonial power relations. This tension between inspiration and appropriation, in which the artists operated, will be critically addressed in the event. To what extent do European projections and racisms toward foreign cultures manifest themselves in the exhibited Expressionist works? The discussion will focus on Emil Nolde's painting „Papuan Boys“, which was created while taking part in an expedition to the South Pacific supported by the German Empire’s colonial office. Not only the context of the painting's creation, but also the stereotypical and idealizing portrayal of the natives in the picture itself poses challenges for curators. Is a critical contextualization in the exhibition sufficient, or should such a work, considered one of the highlights of the collection, even be consigned to storage? Sociologist and political scientist Eric Otieno Sumba, University of Kassel, talks about these questions with Nolde expert Aya Soika, professor of art history at Bard College in Berlin, and journalist Alice Hasters, author of the book „What white people don't want to hear about racism, but should know“.
The events will take place as part of a lecture series from September 2022 to June 2023, on the first Wednesday of each month at 7 pm. Unless otherwise noted, the events will be held in German.
Afterwards, the exhibition can be visited until 10 pm.
Participation in the lecture and admission to the exhibition are free of charge.
Online booking required.
The event series is made possible by the Ferdinand-Möller-Stiftung, Berlin.