Sepik - Art from Papua New Guinea

  • 10 July - 4 October 2015

    The first masks, drums, and carvings to make their way fromPapua New GuineatoEuropeover one hundred years ago caused a sensation. The ritual and everyday objects from the Sepik region, named after the island nation’s longest river, enthralled researchers and influenced Expressionists as well as Surrealists. For the first time ever, Museum Rietberg will showcase the area’s creative richness and cultural diversity in a major exhibition.

    The Sepik River winds through nearly 1,200 kilometres of swampland and tropical rainforest. Over thousands of years, a diverse collection of cultures and languages has developed along the banks of the river and its countless tributaries. The exhibition will illustrate this richness. On display will be 170 works of art, out of which some date back to the first research expeditions of German researchers from the beginning of the 20th century.

    It is the immense variety of styles that attracs attention up to this very day: bamboo flutes up to two metres in length whose large figurations are decorated with tousled hairstyles, or bullroarers that simulate the sound of a crocodile. The use of unusual materials such as snails, feathers, bones, and animal teeth created a sensation. With a small crocodile with glowing blue eyes and a twelve meter long boat carved out of a trunk extremes become distinct and visible.

    In addition to the exhibits, large-format photographs, audio recordings, and films will help illuminate life past and present along the course of the river. Furthermore there will be an audio guide in English or German for adults and children: CHF 5 / person, CHF 10 / family.

    The exhibition was conceived and organised by the the musée du quai Branly - in cooperation with the Martin-Gropius-Bau Berlin.

    With the support of the Parrotia Foundation

    Media reviews

    «Sepik, un fiume di mille chilometri»
    (Azione, 10.8.2015) 

    «Von Geistern und Künstlern»
    (Tagblatt der Stadt Zürich, 5.8.2015) 

    «Unter den Augen der Ahnen» 
    (Basler Zeitung, 21.7.2015) 

    «Vom andern Ende der Welt»
    (Der Bund, 20.7.2015) 

    «Der Biss des Krokodils»
    (Neue Zürcher Zeitung, 20.7.2015) 

    «Zürich zeigt Kunst aus Papua-Neuguinea»
    (Südostschweiz, 18.7.2015) 

    «Es lebt!»
    (Tages-Anzeiger, 18.7.2015) 

    «Aus der Wunderwelt der Ahnen»
    (Der Landbote, 17.7.2015) 

    «Der Fluss und die Ahnen» 
    (St. Galler Tagblatt, 13.7.2015) 

    «Im Banne der Kunst indigener Völker» 
    (©www.kultur-tipp.ch, 11.7.2015)

    «L'Océanie à Zurich»
    (Le Courrier, 10.7.2015) 

    «Kunst aus Papua-Neuguinea»
    (Bünder Tagblatt, 10.7.2015

    (Tages-Anzeiger / Züritipp, 9.7.2015)

  • Highlights of the exhibition

    Exhibition trailer


    «Die Welt ist auch ein Krokodil–zur Kunst vom Sepik in Papua-Neuguinea»
    Lecture with Dr. Markus Schindlbeck (in German)
    Sunday, 12 July, 12.30 pm agenda »

    «Cannibal Tours» und die Welt des Tourismus
    Film and discussion with Dr. Marko Scholze
    Wednsday, 13 September, 12.30 pm agenda »

    «Was vom Menschen übrig bleibt. Einblicke in die Human-Remains-Debatte an ethnologischen Museen»
    Lecture with Dr. Eva Raabe (in German)
    Wednesday, 16 September, 7.30 pm agenda »

    «Kunstwerke und Kulthaus: das Wechselspiel zwischen äusserer und innerer Welt in Papua-Neuguinea»
    Lecture with Prof. Brigitta Hauser-Schäublin (in German)
    Wednesday, 30 September, 7.30 pm agenda »

    All events (in German) More »

    More material

    Press More »