Musée d'Orsay: Dada Africa, Non-Western Sources and Influences

Dada Africa, Non-Western Sources and Influences

Sophie Taeuber-ArpAbstract Patterns (Masks)© Stiftung Arp e.V., Berlin / Rolandswerth. Wolfgang Morell
Dada, a prolific and subversive art movement, first emerged in Zurich during the First World War, and then spread to centres such as Berlin, Paris and New York. Through their new works – sound poems, collage, performance – the Dada artists rejected the traditional values of civilisation, while appropriating the cultural and artistic forms of non-western cultures such as Africa, Oceania and America.

The Musée de l’Orangerie is presenting an exhibition on these exchanges with African, American Indian and Asian works alongside those of the Dadaists - Hanna Höch, Jean Arp, Sophie Taueber-Arp, Marcel Janco, Hugo Ball, Tristan Tzara, Raoul Haussmann, Man Ray and Picabia, among others.

The Dada soirées will feature archive material of films of dance, sound documents, music, revealing the diversity, inventiveness and radical nature of Dada productions – textiles, graphics, posters, assemblages, wooden reliefs, dolls and puppets – in relation to the strange beauty and rarity of the non-western works: a Hemba statue and Makonde mask from Africa, a Hannya mask from Japan, the prow of a Maori pirogue...

As the home of the Jean Walter - Paul Guillaume collection, the Musée de l’Orangerie is the perfect place for this exhibition. Paul Guillaume, an important dealer in African art, played a leading role in this cultural encounter that took place against a background of hybrids, genre and colonial attitude.

In counterpoint to the exhibition, the works of two contemporary artists will be presented at the museum:

  • two photographs by the artist Athi-Patra Ruga from a performance and a reflection on identity… A Vigil for Mayibuye (from the Exile series), 1915 and The Future White Woman of Azania, 2012

  • a collection of works (tapestries, photographs and drawings) by Otobong Nkanga, including two tapestries In pursuit of Bling, 2014.


Cécile Debray, chief curator, director of the Musée de l'Orangerie and Cécile Girardeau, curator at the Musée de l'Orangerie

In cooperation with the Rietberg Museum and the Berlinische Galerie

With the help of Fabienne Leclerc - In Situ Gallery

With the generous support of Pro Helvetia, Swiss Foundation for Culture

18 October 2017 - 19 February 2018

Paris, Musée de l'Orangerie

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