From 12 March to 11 July 2021, the Museum Rietberg in Zurich will be showing our rock art exhibition.
One of the many questions about art that can never be answered is the question of its origins. While music, dance and theatre have left hardly any traces, rock and cave paintings have survived the millennia. The discovery of Paleolithic cave paintings at the end of the 19th century changed ideas about the beginnings of art from the ground up.
Can we approach an art that is not accessible in an exhibition in the original and its creators, their motivations and their perception of the world must remain forever unknown?
You can find the programme accompanying the exhibition here.
Kunst der Vorzeit – Felsbilder der Frobenius-Expeditionen
Expanded new edition 2021
Edited by Karl-Heinz Kohl, Richard Kuba, Hélène Ivanoff
280 pages, 24,0 x 28,0 cm
including fold-out panel
To the shop
Short tour of the exhibition with Dr Richard Kuba (Youtube)
In the exhibition "Préhistoire, une énigme moderne" shown in Centre Pompidou in Paris from 8 May - 16 September 2019 two loans from the Frobenius Institute were also on display. The exhibition focuses on the close connection between prehistoric art and modernism.
The most important morning news in French television did not highlight the paintings by Picasso, Mirò or Klee etc., which were also shown in the exhibition, but rather the two large-format rock art copies that were created in 1929 during the Frobenius expedition to present-day Zimbabwe.
Prof. Dr. Peter Breunig
Prof. Dr. Mamadou Diawara
Prof. Dr. Heike Drotbohm
Prof. Dr. Christian F. Feest
Prof. Dr. Ernst Halbmayer
Prof. Dr. Anja Klöckner
Prof. Dr. Karoline Noack
Prof. Dr. Susanne Schröter
Prof. Dr. Bernhard Streck
Prof. Dr. Josef Franz Thiel
Prof. Dr. Katja Werthmann
The Frobenius-Institute focuses anthropological and historical research, since its foundation mainly in Africa, but also including South and Southeast Asia, Australia, South and North America and Oceania. More recently, its activity has been concentrated on research of cultural appropriation processes within the context of globalisation.
As Germany's oldest anthropological research institution, the Frobenius Institute holds four scientific collections and a number of scientific legacies. The holdings are the product of a collecting and documentation activity which started in 1898 and continued well after the death of the Institute's founder, Leo Frobenius, in 1938. One of the most remarkable features were the Institute's numerous research expeditions during which great importance was given to visual documentation. This lead to the creation of a large pictorial archive quite unique in Europe (online image database). Affiliated to the Frobenius-Institut is the Anthropological Library which has been founded in 1898 as a research library and which today counts among the most important libraries with focus on anthropology (catalogue).
As an autonomous institution, the Frobenius-Institut is associated to the Johann Wolfgang Goethe University and works in close collaboration with the Institut für Ethnologie (Institute for Ethnology), as well as with the Weltkulturen Museum (Museum of World Cultures) in the city of Frankfurt am Main.
Yearbooks / Annual reports
Boards of the Frobenius Institute
Nigeria 100 years ago – Through the eyes of Leo Frobenius and his expedition team
Exhibition series with images from the ethnographic picture archive and the photographic archive of the Frobenius Institute, Frankfurt (Germany)
Opening on 9.11.2010 in Abuja, Ife, Makurdi, Minna und Yola (Nigeria) in cooperation with the Nigerian National Commission for Museums and Monuments.
All countries have at one time or another been explored by travellers, geographers, anthropologists and other adventurers. The materials collected during such exploratory expeditions have become invaluable records of events and situations taking place at those points in time. Leo Frobenius' travels in Nigeria between 1910 and 1912 fall into this category. On the completion of this expedition, Frobenius and his two colleagues had produced more than 3,000 images (photographs, sketches, oil paintings, aquarelles, etc.).
These images give a rich impression of architecture, art, artisanship, royalty and day-to-day life in Nigeria one hundred years ago, mainly in the areas of the Yoruba, Tiv and Nupe as well as Adamawa. For several reasons, however, the materials collected by Frobenius have not been accessible to the public.With this in mind, the National Commission for Museums and Monuments in collaboration with the Frobenius Institute at the Goethe University, Frankfurt, Germany have decided, on the occasion of the centenary of Frobenius' expedition andthe 50th anniversary of Nigeria's independence, to exhibit this magnificent archival collection, with a view to stimulating discussion on his legacy. We may have reason to not agree with Frobenius' methods and some of his conclusions; nonetheless, we cannot but appreciate the wealth of knowledge that can be attained from viewing his photographs, drawings and sketches.
See the different exhibition parts (click to open):
1.Introduction (included in all regional parts)
2. Yorubaland (at the National Museum, Ile-Ife, Osun State)
3. Nupeland (at the U.K. Bello Art Theater, Minna, Niger State)
4. Tivland and Jukunland (at the National Museum, Makurdi, Benue State)
5. Adamawa (at the Lamido Zubairu Educational Center, Yola, Adamawa State)
6. Portraits (included in the regional parts)
Press Coverage (selection, click to enlarge):
Opening ceremonies (click to see the pictures):
1. Abuja, 9 Nov. 2010
2. Ife, 9 Nov. 2010
3. Makurdi, 9 Nov. 2010
4. Minna, 9 Nov. 2010
5. Yola, 9 Nov. 2010
Richard Kuba und Musa Hambolu „Nigeria 100 Years Ago – Through the Eyes of Leo Frobenius and his Expedition Team“.
Frankfurt, Frobenius Institut, 2010. - 82 S.
Karl-Heinz Kohl: The Legacy of Frobenius in Germany
Olayemi Akinwumi: Germay's Colonial Involvment in Nigeria
Hans Peter Hahn: Leo Frobenius in West Africa. Some Remarks on the History of Anthropology
Musa Hambolu: Nigeria 1910-1912. The Context of Leo Frobenius' Exploration
Richard Kuba: Travelling Frobenius
Folayemi Famoroti: Leo Frobenius' Contribution to the History of African Art
Gabriele Weisser: Context and Arrangement. Leo Frobenius' Mask Images from Nigeria
Editha Platte: Found and Lost in Ife: Leo Frobenius and the Olokun Bronze Head
Opening ceremony at the Cyprian Ekwensi Centre for Arts and Culture (FTC Council for Arts and Culture), Abuja, November 9, 2010
Brochure for the opening in Abuja
Speeches delivered (click to open):
- Director General, National Commission for Museums and Monuments, Yusuf Abdallah Usman
- Senate Committee Chairman on Culture, Senator Dahiru Bako Gassol
- House Committee Chairman on Culture, Hon. K.G.B. Oguakwa
- Dr. Richard Kuba, Curator at the Frobenius-Institute in Frankfurt (Germany)
Entrance to the exhibition hall
Opening ceremony: the venue
Welcome address by the Director General of the NCMM, Yusuf Abdallah Usman
Exhibition tour guided by NCMMs Director for Research and Training, Dr. Musa Hambolu
Pupils watching the exhibition
Interview of NCMMs Director General, Yusuf Abdallah Usman, for the NTA Evening News
A coss section of the public at the opening. The exhibition was composed of the highlights of the regional parts shown in Ife, Makurdi, Minna and Yola