Fascination for non-European cultures at the interface between art and anthropology is deeply rooted in the family of Eberhard Fischer. As son of the Heidelberg art anthropologist Hans Himmelheber (1908–2003), the former director of the Museum Rietberg joined his father on an expedition to Liberia at the early age of eighteen in 1960. After attaining his degree in Anthropology from the University of Basel, his interest in art and anthropology took him to India in 1965. In his bag, his camera, an eye for art and anthropology moulded by his father, and a universal understanding of art and technology taught to him by his academic mentor, Prof Alfred Bühler. On his later research trips, too, – during his professional career he spent more than five years in India and West Africa – his camera, or better, his camera ethnographica was his steady companion. To him, the camera was not merely a tool for documenting art-anthropological materials, it also served as a means to remember traditional cultures and to counter their felt, gradual disappearance. The result of this commitment is a remarkable photo archive containing 35,000 black-and-white images.
To mark Eberhard Fischer’s 80th birthday, the exhibition presents a selection of early photographs from the archive and situates them in the historical context of their creation. The show addresses anthropological research methods, the role of the camera as a documentary and aestheticizing device, and the development of an anthropological perspective on art. In particular, the exhibition wishes to trace the paradigms and debates that coined the art anthropologist’s view and his notion of art.
CHF 14 / CHF 12 reduced