Authority and Ornament, Papua New Guinea
This exhibition was first shown at the Art Centre Basel and was then travelling to distinguished museums in Europe and the United States.
The 700-mile-long Sepik River originates in the north slopes of a mountain range in central New Guinea, a vast island region just north of Australia. From its source, it meanders through the lowlands of the interior and finally flows into the Pacific by way of a swampy delta on the northeast coast of the island. The exhibition covers the entire area of the Sepik River and the artworks come from the Upper, Middle and Lower Sepik regions.
These pieces constantly amaze given the regional diversity of styles around the Sepik. Yet the characteristic common to all is the close coexistence of power and playfulness: to our eyes, adjusted to our subjective experience, the alternation of an aggressively monstrous and a romantically playful visual idiom. At times both unite in a single piece, such as the famous flute stoppers of the Mundugumor. The contribution of the Sepik region to world art is largely based on this tension and polarity.
Basel (Switzerland), Art Centre Basel (January 31, 1985 – June 28, 1985)
Schaffhausen (Switzerland), Museum zu Allerheiligen (January 11, 1986 – March 16, 1986)
Linz (Austria), Oberösterreichisches Landesmuseum (April 10, 1986 – June 29, 1986)
Seattle, WA (USA), Thomas Burke Memorial Washington State Museum ( August 01, 1986 – January 01, 1987)
New York, NY (USA), IBM Gallery of Science and Art (March 03, 1987 – April 25, 1987)
Richmond, VA (USA), Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (August 10, 1987 – October 04, 1987)
Denver, CO (USA), Denver Art Museum (November 21, 1987 – January 24, 1988)
Phoenix, AZ (USA), The Heard Museum (February 20, 1988 – May 01, 1988)
San Francisco, CA (USA), California Academy of Sciences (June 15, 1988 – September 15, 1988)
Curator: Suzanne Greub
Catalogue Editor: Suzanne Greub
The catalogue has been published by Editions Greub, Basel 1985.