All Cannibals?

29.05.2011 to 21.08.2011 

The exhibition All Cannibals? at me Collectors Room scrutinizes the topic of cannibalism (anthropophagy) in art. Historical works—etchings, books of hours, paintings, ethnographic photographs, and cult objects foster a dialogue with works from contemporary art.

Shown are current works from the mediums of video, installation, photography, sculpture, drawing, and painting that explore the issue of anthropophagy in a mindscape that is often both uncanny and playful at the same time. The juxtaposition of past and present reveals intersections between metaphorical and literally concrete planes. Various motif-related aspects—like sacrifices, primordial fears, and sensually narrated elements of creepiness—are presented from an art-historical perspective, their many layers illuminated.

A total of 100 works, most of which originate from private collections, by 40 international artists are being shown in the exhibition, partly chronologically and partly thematically presented. The arrangement follows headings like History, Myths & Fairy Tales, Solidarity of the Flesh, Goya and His Successors, and Holy and Secular Cults.

The exhibition fields the question as to whether we as people are not, fundamentally speaking, all potential cannibals. Along this vein, the exploration of cannibalism should always first start with us. The issues manifesting in the artistic representation of cannibalism reference basic problems relating to one’s self-perception, to associations with one’s own flesh, and also to dealings between people. Thus, the metaphorical consumption is able to encourage the fostering of solidarity with others and to expose victim-perpetrator associations. In art, this bipolarity is shown through the oscillation between desire and violence, eroticism and power.

The exhibition is being held in cooperation with the Paris exhibition venue la maison rouge.

List of Artists

Makoto Aida, Pilar Albarracin, Gilles Barbier, Norbert Bisky, Michaël Borremans, Patty Chang, Jake & Dinos Chapman, Erik Dietman, Wim Delvoye, Marcel Dzama, Renato Garza Cervera, Will Cotton,  James Ensor, Chen Fei, Camille de Galbert, Francisco de Goya, J. J. Grandville, Blalla W. Hallmann, Pieter Hugo, Melissa Ichiuji, John Isaacs, Oda Jaune, Michel Journiac, Dana Schutz, Sandra Vasquez de la Horra, Adriana Varejâo, Saverio Lucariello, Frédérique Loutz, Patrizio Di Massimo, Yasumasa Morimura, Philippe Mayaux, Vik Muniz, Wangechi Mutu, Álvaro Oyarzún, Chantalpetit, Giov. Battista Podesta, Odilon Redon, Félicien Rops, Bettina Rheims, Benjamin Saurer, Cindy Sherman, Toshio Saeki, Mathew Weir, Joel-Peter Witkin, Ralf Ziervogel, Jérôme Zonder


The exhibition All Cannibals? includes an accompanying program comprised of artist talks as well as film and discussion evenings with philosophers, historians, doctors, and lawyers. A children’s program familiarizes participants with fairy-tale characters associated with the exhibition theme.

View here some selected press reviews about All Cannibals?