Scientific article
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Primitivism and the other. History of art and cultural geography

Published inGeoJournal, vol. 60, no. 4, p. 353-364
Publication date2004

The article advocates an articulation of cultural geography and art history, and in this perspective focuses on the analysis of the primitivist movement and particularly on Gauguin's work and personal itinerary. Primitivism introduced artefacts of ‘primitive' people into the history of Western art and signalled a change in the relationship between the West and the ‘Other' and ‘Elsewhere'. This reversal of values has a major geographical dimension. Primitivism manifests the contradiction-rife colonial ideology, but can also challenge colonization. Tourism, which is, in the case of Tahiti, directly linked to Gauguin and to his myth, inherited a lot from primitivism, in terms of hopes and ambiguities. Conversely, primitivism casts light on geographical features of these places, instituted as ‘Elsewheres‘ by the West, and visited, even transformed by painters, colonizers and tourists.

  • Art
  • Colonization
  • Cultural geography
  • Gauguin
  • Otherness
  • Painting
  • Primitivism
  • Representation
  • Tahiti
  • Tourism
Citation (ISO format)
STASZAK, Jean-François. Primitivism and the other. History of art and cultural geography. In: GeoJournal, 2004, vol. 60, n° 4, p. 353–364. doi: 10.1023/B:GEJO.0000042971.07094.20
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Article (Accepted version)
ISSN of the journal0343-2521

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