INDIAN AND HIMALAYAN
FOLK AND TRIBAL ARTS
2008 – 2016
AFFINITIES IN THE WORLD OF THE TRIBAL ARTS
In the introduction to the catalog of 1984
‘Primitivism in 20th Century Art’,
William Rubin speaks of the influences
and affinities between ‘primitivism’ and ‘modernism’.
An interesting research.
In the catalog of Rubin,
are not mentioned works from the Himalayan region,
the first examples of these arts,
documented photographically by Tucci in the early 50’s,
began to appear on the market of Kathmandu
just in the 80’s
In 1984 the Museum of Modern Art celebrated with a big show the interconnection between primitive plastic art and modern and
In 1984 no one knew what it was for example an archaic figure of the nepalese Humla district.
I doubt few even today.
A correlation, an influence or affinity with the avant-gardist art world in Europe or,
and with the spread of modernism in North America is clearly not possible.
Two historical circumstances that contributed, however, to the knowledge of the arts of non-European cultures one century ago.
What I would try to document from today, is any similarity, affinity in style between the popular arts of the Himalayas regions and the most quoted and studied and celebrated the primitive arts.
Outside of a standardized iconography, the Himalayan objects appeared between 1980 and 2000 to show an originality that makes them often…
The same thing had happened probably for the first Africans items arrived in Europe.
In 1906 appeared the so called Fang Derain mask in Paris, according Rubin a ‘strictly mediocre’ item, but with a quite realistic style, something that liked and contribuited to its rapid ‘assimilation and popularity’.
The item, by the way, was immediately replicated ‘en série’, there is an half dozen of masks virtually identical with the Vlaminck/Derain mask, the Museum of Fine Arts, Columbus, Ohio,mistakenly, published it’s example as ‘the’ original one…. another copy is in the colletion of the Ethografisch Museum in Antwerpen.
That’s only an example, what is really important to outline is that while item like these mask were standardized as sale items, some element of the standardization entered, very probably, even in the items for cult purposes.
A sort of double influence, at the end.
For this reason I’ll try to find affinites only with items, that are reputated’sure’ and not ‘contaminated’ from a stilistic point of view.
I would like to start today with a very unusual Congo (?) figure
The item was attested in the 1913 in the Brummer Collection,
than from 1921 in The Philadelphia University Collection,
it was edited for the first time in the
November 1913 on Umelecky Mesicnik,Vol. I-III,
1915 by Carl Einstein on Negerplastik,
and in 1920 by Hall, H.U. on “Fetish Figures of Equatorial Africa.” The Museum Journal, Vol. XI, No. 1 (March).
The exact context of provenance it’s unknown
(According the Ross Archive :Artiste Teke? W. Fagg; Hugana? E. Herold)
What is interesting for our researche it’s the
of the frontal posture of this sculpture with the more classical
posture of some of the nepalese so called primitive figure.
A similar iconographic element
very different stilistic traditions ,
the universal archetypes?