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Global Shiftings in Media and Methods
Series: Image, 54
Aspekte der Alterität seit 1800
Series: Image, 99

that the recep- tion of global cultural objects necessarily involves an analytical discussion of forms of “material culture.” Invariably, it seems that interpretations and evaluations of cultural achievements, communication and mediation are presented primarily in the form of material mediums, manageable agents, and automatically circulating things.1 1| For the latest research on the concept of the thing/object, building on its reactivation in ethnology, see among others Godelier, Maurice: Das Rätsel der Gabe: Geld, Geschenke, heilige Objekte, Munich: Beck

entered into possession of Afrikanische Kunst in Europa. Kulturelle Aneignung und musealer Umgang am Beispiel der höfischen Kunst aus Benin Melanie Ulz 218 the newly founded ethnological museums illegally. Today, almost every Ger- man ethnological museum “owns” art from Benin. As part of a critical review of the collections in European museums and a transcultural art history, the author argues that the Western, white gaze has to face the colonial legacies of the past. Part of this process is the consideration of the objects’ loss of meaning due to

Schneckenburger: he was reminded of exhibitions of “objects from an ethnology museum.”17 In his epoch-making book Negerplastik from 1915 Carl Einstein notes “that most of these works have no pedestal or similar support,” an absence he saw as stemming from cultic practices: “the god is never pictured as anything but a self- sufficient being, requiring no aid of any kind. And he has no lack of pious, adoring hands when he is carried about by the worshipper.”18 This demanded unconventio- nal forms of positioning. Thus, hanging an object on a hook attached to a metal rod

French art history and theory procee- ding from the artifacts of an ethnological museum culture emerging at the end of the 19th century and indeed striving to exploit this object-based culture politi- cally. Here we can recognize the attempt to extrapolate cultural morphologies from the aesthetic-empathetic interpretation of objects; in turn, these morphologies are to posit the pictorial ornament or the tangibly felt artifact and architecture as the foundation for further knowledge about “peoples,” (anthropo-)geographic regions and their specific modes of

Absent Objects: A conversation with Otobong Nkanga,” in: ibid., 155-164, 156. 52| C.f. Leeb, Susanne: Contemporary Ar t and/in/versus/about the Ethnological Museum, in: http://www. darkmat ter101.org /site/2013/11/18/contemporar y-ar t-andinver susabout-the-ethnological-museum/ (2014/03/2). 53| Exh. cat. Frankfurt a.M., Weltkulturen Museum 2012, 11. 107Currency Affairs pected assemblages of objects” represents a “desire to understand further”54 and “enrich important objects of the collection through new ideas.”55 This aspiration upholds a widespread historical

criteria for classifying objects as ‘authentic,’ gleaned from Western, ethnological and artistic contexts, are also considered highly problematic by the au- thors, for example when these objects were produced and used in African societies. The inadequacy of these categories when trying to ascertain authenticity becomes all the more clearer when for instance the provenance of a piece, i.e. the proof that it was once part of a (early) European collection, is taken as a meaningful standard for 9| On the problematic of ethnological classifications, see: Eisenhofer

”, considers the linkage between modernist practices and colonialism that has generated multiple entangled relationships within both a European and an Asian context. The article plots onto a sin- gle matrix the differing dimensions of this connected history, which has long been relegated to separate institutional and scholarly spaces. The strands of an intertwined history include the collection of ethnological objects and their imbrication in scholarly discourses on “Weltkunstgeschichte”, as well as in ar- Alternative, Peripheral or Cosmopolitan? | Monica Juneja 81

was a research assistant at the Heinrich-Heine-University Dusseldorf from 1997 to 2005. Her re- search focus covers the interdisciplinary discourse of the human body and gender in Modernism, the medial interfacing of art and forms of knowledge and recognition in cultural geography and ethnography/ ethnology, as well as the debates on post colo- nial art and the possibilities of “global art” between Modernism and contemporary art. Among her recent publications are Artefakt Fetisch Skulptur. Aristide Maillol 318 Biographical Notes und die Beschreibung des Fremden