Accepted Paper:

Exhibitions at Quai Branly  

Author:

Denise Lombardi (GSRL)

Paper Short Abstract:

The present paper will analyze three temporary exhibitions which took place in 2012-2013 at Quai Branly Museum in Paris. We will take into account “Patagonie. Images au bout du monde”, “Les Maîtres du desordre” and “Charles Ratton, l’invention des Arts Primitifs”.

Paper long abstract:

The Quai Branly museum in Paris has been the object of many debates ever since its construction in 2006.

Though the immense building is a master piece itself, its function is still today unclear.

The Quay Branly museum carries on an important aesthetic functions as tourist attraction for Paris.

The Quai Branly found in Jean Nouvel the architect capable of bringing the majestic architecure of the building back into the articulated breath of Paris, the city of unwieldy aesthetics and iconography, often cannibalized by its desire to appear as it does in images. At the same time, this receptacle of tribal arts condenses, materialises, and places the spectator at the centre of the debate about colonialism, as well as European, and particularly French post-colonialism, which continues to this day.

Besides the post-colonialism debate, the Quay Branly museum takes on an essential pedagogic role in educating the public: exhibitions are meant to convey and to shape in the mind of the audience a peculiar gaze at the other "exotic".

In order to understand how such view is built in the audience, the present paper will analyze three temporary exhibitions which took place in 2012-2013. We will take into account "Patagonie. Images au bout du monde", "Les Maîtres du desordre" and "Charles Ratton, l'invention des Arts Primitifs".

The exhibitions show different modalities to display events and objects belonging to contemporary or extinct cultures. Through the representation of the other exotic, it is possible to observe how the museum exhibits itself, as a place for images even before as a place of culture.

Panel P094
Re-imagining ethnological museums: new approaches to developing the museum as a place of multi-lateral contacts and knowledge (Commission on Museums and Cultural Heritage)