The Power of Form: African Art from the Horstmann Collectionby Ezio Bassani
The collection formed over the course of thirty years by Udo Horstmann is rather exceptional inasmuch as it offers a captivating vision of the variety of solutions adopted by black artists over the course of the centuries. The collection includes nearly 120 extraordinary sculptures, masks and objects from Mali, Burkina Faso, Nigeria, Gabon, Congo, Angola, Zambia, South and Eastern Africa including Kenya and Sudan.
The origin of the artworks, in fact, touches all of the lands of the continent, including the southern and eastern lands rarely so authoritatively represented in other collections, and their execution covers an arc of time of several millennia. The presence of ancient works contributes to the demolition of the preconception that has weighed unfairly until recent years on African art, and that is the absence of evolution in the artistic creation of Black Africa, and therefore of any historic quality. This is a difficult negation to cancel if African sculpture is still often labeled as "primitive."
A third meritorious quality of Horstmann lies in the fact that he chose the sculptures in his collection, not out of any generic passion for the exotic and neither for any abstract demand for representativity of ethnicity or significance or destination, but for their quality, for the enchantment of the "form," or better, of the "forms".
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