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Walter Bosshard Exhibition opens on April 28, 2019

Apr 08, 2019

From April 28, 2019 to June 10, 2019, the Völkerkundemuseum VPST Heidelberg will host the exhibition “Envisioning Asia: Gandhi and Mao in the Photographs of Walter Bosshard”. The project is the result of a joint collaboration between the Centre for Asian and Transcultural Studies (CATS) of Heidelberg University, the Völkerkundemuseum VPST, the Swiss Foundation for Photography, and the Critical Collective.

"Envisioning Asia: Gandhi and Mao in the Photographs of Walter Bosshard" focuses on images from a critical decade in the life of two vast Asian countries: China and India. The Swiss photojournalist Walter Bosshard (1892–1975) visited both places in the 1930s and in the course of his travels, met with two transformational leaders, Mahatma Gandhi (1869–1947) and Mao Zedong (1893–1976), capturing with his camera intimate moments from the lives of these men and their movements. The exhibition offers a tantalizing overview of some of his camera work, alongside a rare silent film on Mao, also shot by Bosshard. By juxtaposing Gandhi and Mao, India and China, and bringing them into an inter-visual dialogue, the exhibition also serves as a paradigmatic example of the art of comparison through images and, specifically, photographs.

In the course of the exhibition, there will be a lecture series offered by Prof. Barbara Mittler, director of the Heidelberg Centre of Transcultural Studies (HCTS) and founding director of the Centre for Asian and Transcultural Studies (CATS), and Duke historian Prof. Sumathi Ramaswamy. The series is titled “No Parallel? The Fatherly Bodies of Gandhi and Mao.” The aim of this lecture series is to illustrate how these two hyper-visible men have been transformed over the course of the last century through the work of visual imagery and image-events into globally recognizable “bio-icons.”

The exhibition is co-curated by Peter Pfrunder of the Swiss Foundation for Photography in Winterthur (Zürich) and Gayatri Sinha of Critical Collective, New Delhi, who will give lectures as well as Heidelberg art historian Liane Wilhelmus. This exhibition and the framing program was made possible by the generous commitment of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation (Anneliese Maier Research Award for Sumathi Ramaswamy), the Confucius Institute Heidelberg, the Fotostiftung Schweiz (Winterthur), the Harmony Art Foundation and the Raza Foundation (Delhi).




Vernissage | April 28, 4:30 pm

Lecture Series "No Parallel? The Fatherly Bodies of Gandhi and Mao"

May 15, 2019 | 6 pm—7:30 pm
Producing Charisma: Clothing and Unclothing the Fatherly Body

May 23, 2019 | 6 pm—7:30 pm
Sovereign Performance: Toward an Aesthetic of the Ambulatory and the Aquatic

May 29, 2019 | 6 pm—7:30 pm
Absent Presences: Death of a Father

Finissage | June 2, 6:30 pm