Voyage Retour is the title of a new exhibition, the first to be staged by the Museum Folkwang in a country lying south of the Sahara. As part of the project, the Nigerian city of Lagos will host a show presenting pictures by the internationally renowned Nigerian photographer J. D. ’Okhai Ojeikere alongside works by Rolf Gillhausen, Germaine Krull, Robert Lebeck, Malick Sidibé and Wolfgang Weber drawn from the Museum Folkwang’s collection. Voyage Retour brings together images by European and African photographers that bear the unmistakable marks of the various sociopolitical conditions that channelled their expression. There is a particular focus here on the period of decolonisation. With a view to extending the frame of reference, the show also includes numerous allusions to the original contexts in which the exhibits were produced and received.
The exhibition’s venue, the federal government press building constructed in 1896 under the auspices of British colonial rule, can be seen as both a presentation space and one of the conceptual starting points of the project. Numerous relics from the past still evoke the building’s historical usage—it was used to house the state photographic archive into the mid-1990s and until ten years ago the official government gazettes were printed here—and these reminders are systematically incorporated into the exhibition’s concept and design. Voyage Retour picks up on this history and seeks to create a productive crossover space, intended as a platform for new discussions. The exhibition is designed with a particular eye to the specific conditions that pertain in the African countries south of the Sahara. It is against this background that a final colloquium will be held with an international panel discussing overarching questions relating to the perspective, function and significance of photographic archives for society and artistic practice.
Voyage Retour will conclude as planned on 1 December 2013 with the Crossing Archives symposium featuring a line-up of high-calibre contributors. (Further information here...)
An exhibition project presented by the Photography Department at the Museum Folkwang, Essen in cooperation with Goethe-Institut, Lagos, Nigeria.
Curated by Kerstin Meincke.
The exhibition is sponsored by the German Federal Foreign Office.