The exotic other…

8 05 2008


While we couldn’t make it to last night’s opening of Nicola Dickson’s show at the ANU School of Art’s Foyer Gallery, we haven’t missed out entirely – Nikki’s kindly treated us to a little taste…





..and a pre-opening peek at the install…




Currently a candidate for PhD in the ANU School of Art’s Postgraduate Program, Nikki’s not long returned from a two week fieldwork trip to the Victoria & Albert Museum in London. We can’t wait to see what lusciousness evolves from that…


Meanwhile, for the intellectually curious, we’ve dropped in the artist statement below…

‘Other’ Visions 

The term exotic carries with it connotations of foreignness, excitement and an attractive strangeness. The exotic is not an inherent quality found in particular people, objects or places rather it is a particular form of perception that originated in the European mind when confronted with the ‘other’ Pacific or Australasian person, plant, animal, or artefact. Identification of the strange or unusual exotic ‘other’ is made by comparison to things and people that are usual and familiar.  The very strangeness and unfamiliarity of the ‘other’ becomes attractive and desirable.

The cultural lure of the exotic ‘other’ was, and is, a strange, paradoxical blend of the empirical and the fantastic.  This exhibition engages with how assumptions formed concerning the ‘other’ person or artefact from elsewhere were constructed and presented to 18th and 19th century European audiences.  This predominately occurred in the context the natural history museum.  In this period there was no distinction made between specimens of plants, animals, people or their material culture; all were considered revelatory of the diversity found in nature.  Artefacts from ‘elsewhere’ were presented as a fantastic jumble of ‘curiosities’. Factual information was interpreted and inevitably perceived through European conventions and desires.






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