Moments of Unrest. On the Re-activation of Colonial Collections

Moments of Unrest: Talk in the Transition Exhibition at Kunsthaus Dahlem [DE].

In the debate about contaminated colonial heritage, it has become increasingly clear that collections from colonial contexts can be found not only in ethnological museums, but also in artists’ estates. Karl Schmidt-Rottluff also amassed a collection of approximately 100 ritual and everyday “subject/objects” (Felwine Sarr). He collected them according to personal standards, because of their formal beauty and supposed originality, and partly integrated them into his paintings. After Karl Schmidt-Rottluff’s death, they were categorized according to scientific standards and set aside in the depot. The collection bears witness not only to the expansion of Eurocentric horizons, but also to the history of colonial appropriation and the arbitrary overwriting of former meanings. How can a new way of dealing with these things be found in dialogue with the so-called societies of origin? To what extent can participatory digital formats subvert colonial linguistic conventions and hierarchizations? How can the “subject/objects” but also the institutions themselves be put into “disquiet”? How can the transformative moment of disquiet be made productive: for public critique, but also for new forms of cooperation, dialogical research and exhibition formats, and finally for restitutions?

A conversation with Agustina Andreoletti (Digitales Outreach, Rautenstrauch-Joest Museum, Cologne), Julia Binter (Postcolonial Provenance Research, Zentralarchiv Staatliche Museen zu Berlin), Anna Brus (Digitisation project Brücke-Museum & Research associate, Universität zu Köln), Michi Knecht (Ethnologist, Contradiction Studies, Universität Bremen), Ohiniko Mawussé Toffa (Mission and colonial historian, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden) and Nanette Snoep (Director Rautenstrauch-Joest Museum Cologne)

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Please note: Participation is only possible with complete vaccination protection or proof of convalescent status + a booster vaccination or rapid test (no self-test). The current distance and hygiene regulations apply, as well as a general FFP2 mask requirement.

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