Les magiciens de la terre
Rare catalog to the exhibition Magiciens de la Terre, Centre Pompidou and the Grande Halle at the Parc de la Villette, Paris, curated by Jean-Hubert Martin (1989).
An exhibition loved and hated in equal measure, Martin curated the show to address the fact that there were, as he put it, “one hundred percent of exhibitions ignoring 80 percent of the earth.” He attempted to engage critically with certain aspects of neo-colonial mentality in the West, particularly a resurgent interest in ‘primitivism,’ which Martin felt aestheticized exotic cultures without destablilizing Western definitions of fine art, modernism, or identity. The exhibition included works by 100 artists (50 from the so-called “West” and 50 from the “margins”), attempting to show all on an equal footing. The success of this attempt is still disputed and discussed in terms of the exhibition history of the past twenty-odd years, but it remains undeniable that the exhibition enacted an important break with some of the conventions of exhibition-making and strictly defined notions of modernism. Exhibited artists (amongst others): John Baldessari, Mike Chukwukelu, Braco Dimitrijevic, Yongping Huang, Boujemaa Lakhdar, Richard Long, Sigmar Polke, Jangarh Singh Shyam, Ulay, Jeff Wall, Jimmy Wululu, and others.
Paris, Editions de Centre Pompidou, 1989