Colonial Heritage - Decolonial Aesthetics? Reading Nordic Art Institutions in a (De)Colonial Perspective

Activity: Talk or presentationLecture and oral contribution


In the article “Museums in the Colonial Horizon of Modernity”, Walter Mignolo links museums together with colonialism. He points out how museums functioned (and continue to function) as “crucial institutions for the accumulation of meaning and the reproduction of the coloniality of knowledge and being”. In a Nordic context this link between museum history and colonialism is something that still needs further exploration and specification.

Because what do we mean when we talk about museums as colonial institutions? In this paper, I will use the National Gallery of Denmark (SMK) as case, asking if and how this art museum might be perceived as a colonial institution? I will ask this by focusing on crucial points in the collection’s history, dating back to the 17th century.

In recent years, Danish artists and curators have started working increasingly with Danish and European colonial history. How has Denmark’s colonial history emerged in these curatorial and artistic practices in and around the museum? And how might these practices of decolonial aesthetics suggest that the colonial heritage can afford a (museological) decolonization?
Period26 Oct 2018
Event titleNordik XII - The Nordic Association for Art Historians Triennial Conference
Event typeConference
LocationCopenhagen, DenmarkShow on map
Degree of RecognitionInternational