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PostPosted: Sat Apr 07, 2012 12:48 pm 
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Location: London, UK
Magic of Women

We were fortunate to attend the opening activities at the 'Magic of Women' exhibition that opened at the Wereldmuseum in Rotterdam last Wednesday 4 April. This exhibition includes '125 Masterpieces' of a wide range of Indonesian textiles of outstanding quality.

The exhibition is guest curated by Anne van Custem-Vanderstraete, whose family lent some pieces, who we understand may be better known amongst the African rather than Asian art community.

The opening was well attended by textile cuators, such as Linda Hanssen of Wereldmuseum and Itie van Hout of Tropenmuseum, by international dealers such as Thomas Murray, Jonathan Hope and Rudolf Smend, and by textile journos such as Daniel Shaffer of HALI and Alex Arthur of Tribal Art.

Thomas Murray has lent a large number of pieces from his own private collection, many of which have not been seen for some years. Other private lenders included the Ghysels who also lent their Indonesian jewelry collection.

It is hoped that reports on this exhibition will appear in the next editions of HALI and Tribal Art.

The accompanying exhibition catalogue, which shows all the pieces on display in full colour, is a fine publication in both English and Dutch of 550 pages some 5.5cm thick.

We recommend anyone interested in Indonesian textiles and jewelry to make the effort to travel to Rotterdam to visit this exhibition before it closes on 9 September.

Diccon and Lesley


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Wereld Museum 'Magic of Women'v.7.jpg [ 160.22 KiB | Viewed 6073 times ]
Wereld Museum 'Magic of Women'.jpg
Wereld Museum 'Magic of Women'.jpg [ 99.91 KiB | Viewed 6073 times ]
Wereld Museum 'Magic of Women'v.4.jpg
Wereld Museum 'Magic of Women'v.4.jpg [ 131.97 KiB | Viewed 6073 times ]

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PostPosted: Tue May 01, 2012 6:16 am 
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Location: Beijing
This is, as Lesley says, a beautiful show. I was lucky enough to see it a couple of weeks back, and found it well worth the trip. The textiles are of a very high standard, well-displayed and with decent lighting. There is no glass in front of most of the pieces on show and you can appreciate most of the pieces from a foot or so away if you wish. The exhibition organisers are to be congratulated on assembling such a fine group (the jewelry is also impressive).

I suggest staying in nearby Amsterdam and traveling to Rotterdam by train (40 mins away), by which means you can enjoy the sights of Amsterdam and also take in the excellent Tropenmuseum in a weekend trip.

The catalog is also beautifully produced and a steal at 30 Euros. My only (minor) niggle is that the descriptive entries are very brief, and in some cases ambiguous (eg Timor pieces). But this should not put anyone off buying a copy (travel light to leave room for it in your check-in baggage!)

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PostPosted: Tue May 01, 2012 9:41 am 
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Joined: Sun Jun 29, 2003 1:42 pm
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Location: Canterbury, UK
Thanks to you both for these good reviews of what sounds to be a fascinating exhibition.

If you go to the exhibition page at the Wereldmuseum and click the link to Photogallery there are 28 images - about half-and-half jewellery and textiles - of the exhibition.

The catalogue is in the web shop. Mailing - at least to the UK from The Netherlands - is Euro 21.00 + credit card/PayPal charge of Euro 0.35 on top of the book price of Euro 30.

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Pamela

http://www.tribaltextiles.info
on-line tribal textiles resource


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PostPosted: Sun May 06, 2012 10:54 am 
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The Euro 21.35 mailing/credit card processing charge should be viewed in the context of the sizeable 'brick' of a catalogue and efficient and fast transit by courier - order made on 1st, sent on 2nd, received at my door in the UK from The Netherlands on the 4th May!

Beautiful reproductions of the textiles and jewellery - both photographically and printing. I like the way the dual Dutch/English text is laid out with a fine line through the centre of the page from left to right and the top half in Dutch and bottom in mirror image layout in English. Neat, clean and efficient and your eye enjoys the consistency of finding the relevant language text in the same place on every page.

The items on display are, indeed, very fine ones. Fascinating leafing through to appreciate both the diversity and the similarities across the Indonesian archipelago. It is also a testament to why we collect. Not why but how can you not!

Given the very positive comments about the exhibition from both Lesley and Chris I am glad that the catalogue can in some way capture the event.


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Pamela

http://www.tribaltextiles.info
on-line tribal textiles resource
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PostPosted: Sun May 13, 2012 1:28 pm 
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I would just like to add that this is a fantastic museum. When I lived in Rotterdam some years ago the Wereldmuseum felt like a dark, lifeless warehouse for forgotten colonial objects. The renovation and new, permanent displays are very well done. The museum is now a vibrant, well attended place. De Verre Volken is a excellent ethnographic bookstore currently located within the museum and the giftshop also has many wonderful books. The Wereldmuseum is a wonderful institution and a great place to visit if you are passing through the Netherlands. The restaurant inside the museum is also considered one of the finest in the country.

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steven frost-arts of southwest china
www.stevenqfrost.net/gallery


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 Post subject: The magic of the Woman
PostPosted: Sun Aug 26, 2012 1:31 pm 
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I agree that the exhibition was well constructed physically and the textiles fabulous. The aesthetic side of things was quite satisfying. The headphones which were gratis when you paid your entry fee were excellent.

However, there were aspects of this exhibition which disappointed me very, very much. There was a huge amount of "In Indonesia XYZ" with generalization from the specific. Magic of "the" woman is a case in point. As though all Indonesian women are representatives of "the" woman. The opening film was brilliantly done, weaving information from all over the archipelago into one crystallized view of women and their magic -- but it was a creation (a seductively lovely one) and not a responsible presentation of ethnography.

All of the Batak textiles were wrongly labelled in one way or another.

Generally, I feel increasingly uncomfortable with museum-type tags: "White means East" and "Black means North"...symbolism presented in this very flat way making the indigenous simplistic and primitive. Oh, the marvellous, strange "Other"!

The exhibition was a jewel, an opportunity to show opulence in opulent surroundings (the renovated museum is very lovely). It was as though nothing else much mattered.

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Sandra Niessen

www.bataktextiles.com
http://bataktextiles.blogspot.com/


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