Art of prehistoric times. Rock Paintings from the Frobenius Collection

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“The art of the twentieth century has already come under the influence of the great tradition of prehistoric rock art”
Alfred Barr, Director of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), 1937


In addition to the art of the “primitives” (the term used for indigenous peoples at the time) and the “naives” (children and the mentally ill), the quest for original, unspoilt forms of expression in the 1920s and ‘30s gave rise to a third, often neglected source of inspiration for the development of modern art: prehistoric art, particularly the oldest human art tradition, rock art. Around 100 samples, including many large, wall-sized copies from the Frobenius Institute, as well as photographic and archive material, depict the epic history of rock-art documentation in European caves, the central Sahara, the savannahs of Zimbabwe, and the Australian outback. This exhibition examines the impact of these never-before-seen images on modernity, and the manner in which they have inspired artists.

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Organizer Berliner Festspiele / Martin-Gropius-Bau.
An exhibition run by the Frobenius Institute at the Goethe University of Frankfurt. In co-operation with the Martin-Gropius-Bau.
Curator Dr Richard Kuba, with the assistance of Dr Hélène Ivanoff



21 January to 16 May 2016