Emmanuel Frémiet, Gorille enlevant une femme, 1887
© Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden

Surveying the Non-Human. Proposition IV

On the Aesthetics of Racism

 The term “racism” is nothing but a moral reproach. The word itself does not criticise the underlying ideology, which excludes individuals bearing visual evidence of their supposed otherness. The latter is claimed to stem from biological differences among people, but in fact only comes about as a political judgement of those regarded as not belonging to one’s own Nation.

  • DATES 13/05/2016—07/08/2016

[Translate to English:] Deshalb behandelt diese Ausstellung

For this reason, this exhibition addresses the relationship between scientific attempts to construct race and common racist notions on the basis of hitherto little known visual material. The two phenomena share an epistemological conviction which lies at the root of all positivism: That the nature of truth appears on the surface of things, hence allowing types of otherness deserving social segregation to be detected from external attributes. This attitude assumes that people can be classified according to their appearance — on the basis of morphological characteristics, most prominently their skin colour — hence the key role played by the image in all forms of racism. It is also why we can talk of the “aesthetics of racist thought”.

© Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden
Emmanuel Frémiet, Gorille enlevant une femme, 1887 Gips-Skulptur

[Translate to English:] Im Zentrum des komplexen Projekts

At the heart of this complex project is the as yet unexamined obsessive collection of pictures by the Dresden ethnologist and anthropologist Bernhard Struck (1888—1971); unfolding this pictorial system opens the door to the mind and imagination of this figure, whose normality makes him a perfect example of a thinker on race. His production of phenotypes of the Other, largely founded on anthropometric measurements, follows a fundamental line of perception regrettably still widely recognised by our contemporary Society.

Privacy notice

When you play our YouTube or Vimeo videos, information about your use of YouTube or Vimeo is transmitted to the US operator and may be stored.

Die Vermessung des Unmenschen. Eröffnungsrede des Ausstellungskurators Wolfgang Scheppe
Die Vermessung des Unmenschen. Eröffnungsrede des Ausstellungskurators Wolfgang Scheppe

[Translate to English:] Drei Werke der bildenden Kunst

Three works of fine art provide the initial material for a critical assessment of the manipulative use of visual metaphors, which give the alleged difference — alterity — its very plausibility.

[Translate to English:] Drei Werke der bildenden Kunst

The first is the scandal-provoking sculpture of a gorilla abducting a female figure by the 19th-century sculptor Emmanuel Frémiet (1824—1910), who was highly successful in his day. The second is the major work "Manipolazione di Cultura / Manipulation der Kultur" (Manipulation of Culture) by the Italian artist Fabio Mauri (1926—2009), which has never been shown before in Germany. The third piece is a video triptych with sequences by the German film pioneer Arnold Fanck (1889—1974), which presents the circulus vitiosus of German history, seemingly caught in a endlessly repeating loop with the racist perception of the Other.

Privacy notice

When you play our YouTube or Vimeo videos, information about your use of YouTube or Vimeo is transmitted to the US operator and may be stored.

Die Vermessung des Unmenschen. Zur Ästhetik des Rassismus - Teaser
Die Vermessung des Unmenschen. Zur Ästhetik des Rassismus - Teaser

[Translate to English:] weitere

Further Exhibitions
26.04.2014 —24.08.2014
Ausstellungsansicht „Die Dinge des Lebens / Das Leben der Ding" mit aufgereihten Tongefäßen
30.11.2014 —22.03.2015

Logical Rain. Proposition II

im Japanisches Palais

eine Färbeschablone für Kimonos
14.03.2015 —14.06.2015
13.05.2016 —07.08.2016

Surveying the Non-human. Proposition IV

im Kunsthalle im Lipsiusbau

To top