Beyond Desire

Globalisation, post-colonialism and the settling of an historical debt, are all themes which come to the forefront as soon as one becomes interested in or focuses on the African continent. In an era where the cultural world is obsessed with these types of issues, the aspect of desire is almost never assessed.

Visitor information

  • Location

    MoMu - ModeMuseum Antwerp

Description of the exhibition

"Beyond Desire", MoMu’s sixth important thematic exhibition, takes desire as its point of departure and examines the way in which two cultures, the African and the Western, influence one another and adopt each other’s visual idiom. When two cultures meet, how does that which appears on the surface become meaningful? How are attitudes – rather than identities – constructed? How can wearing, as well as owning, certain clothing (self-fashioning) function as a compensation strategy in a society?

In addition to fashion, the exhibition includes fashion photography, African studio photography, visual art, and documentaries.

European fashion designers have adopted the embellishments, scarifications, colours and textiles of the Masai, and combined them with elements of Western haute couture. In this way fashion creates a fantasy onto which elements such as seduction, eroticism, animality and exuberance are projected. However, the meeting of two cultures is both radical and confusing.

Although the random mixing of ethnic and contemporary elements confirms the cliché of ‘the other’, its radicalness also contains a perverse beauty.

Exhibition under the lead of
Curators: Kaat Debo | Scenographer: Bob Verhelst