This project was initiated and developed by Laurence Aëgerter and Ronald van Tienhoven for Kunsthuis SYB, Beetsterzwaag, Frysia, Netherlands
Tristes Tropiques is a memoir, first published in France in 1955 by the anthropologist and structuralist Claude Lévi-Strauss. It documents his travels and anthropological work, focusing principally on Brazil. Although ostensibly a travelogue, the work is infused with philosophical reflections and ideas linking many academic disciplines, such as sociology, history, and literature.
Lévi-Strauss’ reflections regarding the life of Brazilian indians in a rapidly changing society, and the transformation in people’s perception vis-à-vis other cultures throughout the 20th century, led us to use Tristes Tropiques as conceptual and visual point of reference for our art project in Kunsthuis SYB, in Beetsterzwaag, Frysia.
Together with about 40 Beetsterzwaag residents of both sexes and all ages we reenacted the 63 photographs published by Lévi-Strauss in Tristes Tropiques. The photographs are set in the environs of Beetsterzwaag, which oddly resemble the Brazilian interior, notably that of Mato Grosso province.
This presentation was on show throughout our residency in Kunsthuis SYB. The end presentation was held on Saturday the 16th of October 2010. Check out the other Tristes Tropiques presentation, where the whole final photo sequence can be seen.
A publication ise part of the project output. In October 2011 this publication was presented at the Lloyd Hotel's Cultural Embassy in Amsterdam, and in November by Filigranes Editions at Paris Photo. In April 2012 the project will be on show at Salon für Kunstbuch in Vienna.
This project has been made possible thanks to the financial support from the Netherlands Foundation for Visual Arts, Design and Architecture and the Stokroos Foundation.
Kunsthuis SYB is being supported by the province of Frysia and the Mondriaan Foundation.