Views From the Middle of the Globe
Edited by Alfons Hug, Peter Junge, Viola König. Text by Michael Taussig, Breyten Breytenbach.
Western art has long nurtered an idyllic dream of "the tropics," absorbing larger cultural longings for exoticism, armchair travel, uninhibited sensuality and the rejection of industrialized civilization. Taking European constructions of tropicality as its point of departure, this volume juxtaposes 200 pre-modern works from Africa, Asia, Oceania and tropical America (from the collections of the Museum of Ethnology in Berlin) with works by 40 contemporary artists from Brazil, South America, Europe, Africa, Australia and Asia, tracing lines of affiliation and critical reflection. These lines are traced through the lenses of such themes as landscape, ancestry, color palette and tropical sounds and musics, themes that have gained particular freight in their association with tropicality. The publication of this volume marks the first time that this complex subject has been broached on such an ambitious scale, making it essential from multiple artistic and anthropological perspectives. Among the artists included in its scope are Franz Ackermann, Fernando Bryce, Edward Burtynsky, Mark Dion, Andreas Gursky, Candida Höfer, Jitish Kallat, Lucia Laguna, Milton Marques, Dennis Nona, Sherman Ong, Navin Rawanchaikul, Hans-Christian Schink, Thomas Struth, Fiona Tan and Guy Tillim.