Kunstbegrebets Koloniale Klassifikationer til Forhandling på Museer i Sydafrika

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

This article examines the consequences of expanding classificatory boundaries. Since the end of apartheid, objects formerly known as ethnographica are now largely found in art galleries and treated like objects of aesthetic rather than cultural historical value. I highlight how a number of contemporary South African curators reject this assumed valorisation that the objects supposedly gain when they are exhibited in the realm of the aesthetics. However, in arguing that contemporary South African artists are just as contemporary, experimental, conceptual and non-traditional as their counterparts from the Global North, the curators let go of an important part of Africa’s artistic history. If so-called traditional African objects are not to be displayed in art galleries, where then, is there room for art forms that are rooted in traditions from Africa before European contact? This article argues that colonial distinctions between art and artefact might be challenged, if curators and museum professionals start highlighting that all objects, no matter who made them, possess both aesthetic and cultural historical value. In this way museums might be able to look beyond colonial classificatory practices and let go of the hierarchy between objects that the material culture of Africa has endured during the past century.
Translated title of the contributionFrom Artefact to Art: Renegotiating Colonial Classifications in South African Museum
Original languageDanish
JournalTidsskriftet Kulturstudier
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)89-112
Number of pages24
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2021

    Research areas

  • Faculty of Social Sciences - Museums, Art, South Africa, Curation, Reclassification, Ethnographica, Colonialism, Post-apartheid

ID: 273013870