This article explores three art exhibitions held in Europe in the last three years to unveil the traces of orientalism informing their conception and organization. ‘Orientalism in Europe: From Delacroix to Kandinsky’ (Munich, 2011), a journey through the formation of orientalist aesthetics, is here analyzed as the opposite double of ‘Migrations: journey into British contemporary art’ (London, 2012). The second exhibition, displaying heterogeneous works from immigrants living in the UK across four centuries, reveals that orientalism is a dispositive of the images of self and otherness produced by and central to the construction of Britishness. The article next turns to the ‘Open 14’ (Venice, 2011) focusing on Ronni Ahmmed's installation The Tomb of Qara Köz (2011), which contests the fixed constructions of identity and belonging, and thus deorientalizes official and historical narratives. This exhibition tackles the question of orientalism through artistic reflections on the mobility of cultural boundaries dividing East and West.
'Third Text' Volume 27, Issue 6, 2013