Since the late 1990s, interest has grown steadily in a globalized historical perspective of modernism – which for a long time meant the avant-garde artistic tendencies that developed during the 20th century in Vienna, Paris, Berlin, and later New York. But thriving beyond the borders of Europe and North America as well were centers of art production that formulated independent positions that went beyond “Western modernism” or engaged in confrontation with it. With a point of departure in the permanent collections of the Federal State of North Rhine Westphalia, founded in 1961, the research and exhibition project “museum global” reorients our hitherto Western focus toward an “ex-centric” modernism in order to narrate the microhistories of selected artistic manifestations that were articulated in the years between 1910 and 1960 in Japan, Georgia, Brazil, Mexico, India, Nigeria, and Lebanon. Contributing to these developments were multidimensional artistic exchanges, travel encounters, correspondence, publications, and participation in exhibitions.
The publication of a programmatic text in Tokyo in 1910; a trailblazing exhibition held in Moscow in 1913; artistic manifestations in São Paolo in 1922; international encounters, travels, and dialogues: all are central to the microhistories narrated by the exhibition “Microhistories of an Ex-centric Modernism”. Presented will be selected artists who are representatives of a global modernism that has received little attention in Germany to date. In the galleries of K20 – reserved up to this point for European modernism – works by Yorozu Tetsugoro, Niko Pirosmani, Lasar Segall, Anita Malfatti, Tarsila do Amaral, Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo, Amrita Sher-Gil, Saloua Raouda Choucair, Uche Okeke, Colette Omogbai, and many others will be presented for several months.
Created in the context of an ex-centric modernism, they suggest the possibilities that are inherent in different perspectives and constellations. And they raise questions, still urgent even today, that are intimately bound up with a postcolonial perspective: How do national and cultural identities emerge? How are flight and exile mirrored in the works of individual artists? What is the cultural and political influence of foreign travels, encounters, and exchanges?