Origin of Sculpture

30 October 2013 to 23 March 2014

In its special exhibition “Nok. Origin of African Sculpture”, the Liebieghaus Skulpturensammlung has presented spectacular finds of the more than two-thousand-year-old Nok culture in Sub-Saharan Africa for the first time. The over one hundred sculptures and fragments recovered by the archaeologists of Frankfurt’s Goethe University have been displayed in a dialogue with contemporary works from Ancient Egypt and Greek-Roman Antiquity from the collections of the Liebieghaus.

This pointed confrontation thematized the major conflict about the radically changed understanding of art in the twentieth century by spanning from Europe’s figurative art on the one hand to the free forms of so-called primitive art on the other. The Nok terracotta figures rank among the earliest examples of African sculpture and were discovered in more than two-hundred excavation sites in West African Nigeria within the eight years prior to the exhibition.

The exhibition had been prepared in a joint effort by Frankfurt’s Goethe University and the Liebieghaus.

Curator Prof. Dr. Vinzenz Brinkmann (Liebieghaus Skulpturensammlung)
Project partners National Commission for Museums and Monuments (Nigeria), University of Jos (Nigeria), Zentrum für interdisziplinäre Afrikaforschung
Sponsored by Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft
With support from the Julius Berger International GmbH, the William Buller Fagg Charitable Trust, the Friends of the Goethe University, and the Romano-Germanic Central Museum in Mainz