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On the Reception of Aboriginal Art in German Art Space. Edition No. 1
VDM Publishing House, December 2010, Pages: 368
The reading of art is located in deeply entrenched ideas of culture and contextualised by specific historical frameworks. This book addresses the question of how Australian Aboriginal art is displayed in the institutional spaces of art galleries and museums in Germany. It argues that there is an underlying current in Germany that divides the representation of art into European and 'Other.' In German culture, institutional representation of art is hierarchical; the art museum at the top enhances the self-reflexive notion of culture, while the ethnological museum provides the context against which European, specifically German, identity and culture are pitched. German art history and ethnology have led to a binary reading of art that has largely inhibited the exhibition of Aboriginal art as contemporary art. However, Aboriginal art that is contextualised as ethnographic and not as contemporary continues a Modernist attitude on cultural exchange, emphasising an essential difference. This essentialising of art overlooks the globalised situation that evokes regional cultural inflections based on postcolonial expressions of hybridity and fragmentation.
Friederike Krishnabhakdi-Vasilakis has a MA in Ethnology (Art History and Media Science), Philips University of Marburg, Germany. She teaches in Visual Art Theory, Art History and Indigenous Studies at the University of Wollongong, Australia. This book is based on her PhD Creative Arts research at the University of Wollongong, 2009.