Photomonth_rss Photomonth_facebook Photomonth_youtube Photomonth_sklep
If you want to receive, etc.
showOFF 2013
Photomonth_krakow_ministerstwo_kultury Photomonth_krakow_cracovia Photomonth_krakow_6zmyslow Photomonth_krakow_fundacja_sztuk_wizualnych
ROY VILLEVOYE Photomonth_kropki_duze

Roy Villevoye, Paskalis Tufáp, Er, Asmat, Papua, 2000.
C-print from the slide © Roy Villevoye.
Courtesy of Motive Gallery, Brussels






We are looking at men and women from the Asmat community. They inhabit the coastal plains of the southern province of Papua (which today belongs to Indonesia, and is located in the western part of New Guinea, a former Dutch colony). They stand wearing T-shirts that seem to be dirty, torn, and worn out. But are they, really?
Before they first encountered European colonisation, the Asmat dressed rather scantily. The men walked around practically naked. With the beginning of changes in this region, wearing clothes was often imposed by bureaucrats and missionaries; this way fabrics, and eventually also clothes, were assimilated into local culture. They also often constituted an object of exchange – colourful fabrics and calico (a fabric the Asmats started to use for decorative purposes and to adorn their bodies) brought from Europe were exchanged for local handcrafted objects. Woodcarving products were particularly admired by the newcomers.
The T-shirt, invented and popularised in the USA at the beginning of the 20th century, changed its meaning in subsequent decades in various parts of the world, depending on the cultural context. It is probably the Asmat’s aesthetic tradition based on openwork carvings that is most significant in interpreting their humble T-shirt art. An approach to the body as a stylistic form and a symbolic object, different from the Western European approach, is also of key importance.
It therefore seems that for the Asmat the T-shirt is not so much a ready-made article of clothing, but rather constitutes material that is yet to be “cut” and adjusted to one’s own needs. The fabric of the clothes was transformed, so to speak, into a new, plastic skin that could be shaped through cuts, while the holes, slits, and rips created carefully thought-out forms. Do mass consumer products thus become part of a local language?
Roy Villevoye noticed the exceptional character of the T-shirts worn by the Asmat, and amassed a whole collection during his visits in New Guinea between 1998 and 2000. He always got these T-shirts in exchange for money or new T-shirts during the first day of his stay, in order to avoid potential forgeries. 
Roy Villevoye (1960, Maastricht)
Dutch artist. Works primarily with photographs and video footage recorded during his sojourns among the Asmat people of southwestern New Guinea. Rood katoen [Red Calico], among other projects, engages in a critical dialogue with the heritage and pictorial-semiotic framework of anthropological photography and film. Villevoye lives and works in Amsterdam.
The Etnographic Museum of Kraków
ul. Krakowska 46
Vernissage: 19.05.2013, 16:00
Open: 17.05–16.06; TUE–WED, FRI–SAT 11:00–19:00, THU 11:00–21:00,
SUN 11:00–15:00 | MUSEUM NIGHT 17.05: 19:00–1:00 | CLOSED 30.05

Easy access for the disabled.

Ticket: 3 PLN / 5 PLN