It was only after the death of his mother in 1796 that Alexander von Humboldt was able to tackle his expedition plans. Although the travel arrangements were bolstered by his inheritance, he was repeatedly tripped up in the chaos of European warfare. So it took him until 1799 to finally land in Venezuela, the first stop on his South American journey. With access to the Spanish colonies in Latin America being closely controlled, he was only able to enter and travel the country thanks to a special passport granted to him by the Spanish king.
→ “Alexander von Humboldt (1769–1859): The Invention of Nature (part 2)”
→ “Buddhist and Hindu caves and temples, Islamic mausoleums: Ellora, Ajanta, Vijayapura, Hampi”
I traveled to India in December for the fourth time within a few years because the country still holds so much for me to learn and discover. Of course, I am interested in the contemporary art production, so I visited the Kochi Biennale in Fort Kochi on the coast of the Arabian Sea in the southern Indian state of Kerala. Like all other Indian and international colleagues, artists, and art lovers, I had arrived on schedule for the opening. Only, nothing was ready on time, and literally in the last minute, the opening was postponed from the beginning of December to just before Christmas…
→ “Kochi – Mumbai – Bangalore: A la recherche de l’art indien”
Last November I visited Vietnam for the first time. The occasion of my trip was the book launch of Don’t call it art! Contemporary Art in Vietnam, 1993–1999, edited by my German artist friend Veronika Radulovic and the current director of Museum Rietberg in Zürich, Annette Bhagwati (published by Kerber Verlag, 2021) who introduce us to a number of ground-breaking contemporary artists in Vietnam, such as Truong Tan, Nguyen Quang Huy, and others. To the best of my knowledge, I had organized the first exhibition of Vietnamese art in Germany back in 1996, featuring the then young artist Truong Tan at Kunsthalle Bielefeld