Tag Archives: colonlialism


How Can We Sing the Song of the Lord in an Alien Land?

8 October 2010 – 2 January 2011

7 October 2010, 7 p.m.

Haus der Kulturen der Welt
John-Foster-Dulles-Allee 10
10557 Berlin


“The images of Potosí are a shimmering reflection of an extremely violent settlement policy, whose primary purpose was the reproduction and monopolization of labor. We make the claim that there are parallels between the ideological function of colonial-era painting and the modern-day function assumed by art—that of legitimizing the elite of globalization.”
The curators (Alice Creischer, Max Jorge Hinderer and Andreas Siekmann)

with: Sonia Abián, Barcelona / Posadas, Anna Artaker, Vienna, Christian von Borries, Berlin, Matthijs de Bruijne, Amsterdam / Beijing, Culture and Arts Museum of Migrant Workers, Beijing, CVA/ TIPPA , London, Chto delat, Moscow/St. Petersburg, Stephan Dillemuth, Munich / Konstanze Schmitt, Berlin, Territorio Doméstico, Madrid, Ines Doujak, Vienna, Elvira Espejo, La Paz, Marcelo Expósito, Barcelona/Buenos Aires, Harun Farocki, Berlin, León Ferrari, Buenos Aires, María Galindo/ Mujeres Creando, La Paz, Isaías Griñolo, Huelva, Zhao Liang, Beijing, Rogelio López Cuenca, Barcelona, Eduardo Molinari, Buenos Aires, PRPC (Plataforma de Reflexión sobre Políticas Culturales), Seville, David Riff/Dmitry Gutov, Moscow
Guest artists: Monika Baer, Berlin, Quirin Bäumler, Berlin, Luis Guaraní, La Paz, Sally Gutiérrez Dewar, Madrid, The Long Memory of Cocaine research group, La Paz/ London / Berlin
Correspondents: Matthijs de Bruijne, Amsterdam/ Beijing, Anthony Davies, London, David Riff, Moscow

Potosí, the famous silver-mining city, synonymous with immense wealth and unbridled exploitation, was the capital of the mining industry in Latin America from the 16th to the 18th century and played a crucial role in the development of European capitalism and the migrations associated with it. Even today, the expression vale un Potosí—worth a fortune—is commonly used in Spanish.

With this exhibition the Haus der Kulturen der Welt is marking a critical approach and another way of looking at the Bicentenario—the 200th anniversary of the independence movement in Latin America. It addresses the relationships between trade and art transfers and economic structures and ways of thinking in Latin America and Europe and their social effects on both continents, both before and after the citizens’ revolutions of the 19th century.

The “Andean Baroque” works presented in “The Potosí Principle” prove that cultural hegemony is a reflection not of cultural greatness, but of violence. The exhibition uses this form of painting to investigate structural similarities between the colonialism that brought forth Modernism and the current global regime of Neoliberalism. Contemporary artists respond to the baroque images with their own works. In this way, they create a link to issues still current today, such as the role of women in colonial society or the effects of the transnational soy bean monoculture on modern-day South America. A ‘Singspiel’ conducts a satirical examination of the energy oligarchy in St. Petersburg, while another project accompanies Chinese people as they seek to exercise their right to legal recourse. A traveling exhibition by the “Migrant Worker Museum” at the headquarters of the IG Metall trade union shows objects from the every-day life and culture of migrant workers and traces the ties between the modern-day exploitation of labor and resources and its roots in the 18th century, when it was already widespread from Bolivia to China.

The exhibition, which was previously shown at the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía in Madrid and will subsequently travel to the Museo Nacional de Arte and the Museo Nacional de Etnografía y Folklore in La Paz, draws its energy from continuously changing artistic dialogues, redesigned for each of its hosts in Spain, Germany and Bolivia. The Berlin focus is on the concept of “Kulturnation” (“nation of culture”).

Workshops on 8 and 9 October will give artists, correspondents and the curators the chance to discuss the Potosí principle in greater detail with academics and theoreticians, addressing the question of how to describe the Marxist principle of “so-called primitive accumulation” along with colonial and contemporary global interrelationships. (Admission free, prior registration required: www.hkw.de/potosi/arbeitstage)

The exhibition is accompanied by an eponymous catalog published by the Buchhandlung Walther König in German, English and Spanish. Edited by Alice Creischer, Max Jorge Hinderer & Andreas Siekmann, 304 pages with articles and a large illustrated section. ISBN (German) 978-3-86560-897-0.

Three Films on Sundays in November offer a view of the world from Potosí’s perspective:
07.11. 17:00 Petition, Zhao Liang, China/France 2009, 124 min, English subtitles
14.11. 17:00 La Nación clandestine, Jorge Sanjinés, Bolivia 1989, 128 min, German subtitles
21.11. 17:00 The Dubai in Me, Christian von Borries, Germany 2010, 78 min, English OV

Guided tours: Saturdays and Sundays, 3 p.m., www.hkw.de/potosi

Haus der Kulturen der Welt: 8.10.2010 – 2.1.2011
Admission: Wed – Sun 11 – 19h, admission free on Mondays
Further information : www.hkw.de/potosi
IG Metall Headquarters
Alte Jakobstraße, 8.10.2010 – 2.1.2011, Mon – Fri, 7 – 19h, www.igmetall.de

Further Destinations
Museo Nacional de Arte and Museo Nacional de Etnografía y Folklore, La Paz: Spring 2011
Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid: 12.05.2010- 06.07.2010
Press material and photos ready for download: www.hkw.de/press

“The Potosí Principle” is a cooperation between Haus der Kulturen der Welt and Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid

Funded by Sociedad Estatal para la Acción Cultural Exterior, Madrid und Kulturstiftung des Bundes (German Federal Cultural Foundation)

Further supported by Embajada de España en Bolivia; Agencia Española de Cooperación Internacional para el Desarrollo (AECID); Ministerio de Culturas República de Bolivia; Fundación Cultural Banco Central de Bolivia, The Embassy of Spain and Credinform Seguros y Reaseguros
In collaboration with IG Metall

The Haus is financed by the State Minister for Culture and Media at the Federal Chancellery in accordance with a resolution of the Deutscher Bundestag, and receives project-related funding from the Federal Foreign Office.

Further information
Feel free to write us your comments and questions at info@hkw.de

Anne Maier
Press Officer
Haus der Kulturen der Welt
+49 (0)30 39787.153

The Potosi Principle
Haus der Kulturen der Welt
John-Foster-Dulles-Allee 10
10557 Berlin

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