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Thinking Allegory Otherwise$
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Brenda Machosky

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780804763806

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804763806.001.0001

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Colonial Allegories in Paris

Colonial Allegories in Paris

The Ideology of Primitive Art

Chapter:
(p.119) Five Colonial Allegories in Paris
Source:
Thinking Allegory Otherwise
Author(s):

Gordon Teskey

Publisher:
Stanford University Press
DOI:10.11126/stanford/9780804763806.003.0006

Focusing on the Colonial Exhibition of 1931 along with its ideological display and its current place in the Musée du Quai Branly in Paris, this chapter addresses the violent capture of meaning constitutive of allegory. However, it also notes a fundamental change in the convention of allegory through the history of colonialism, as represented in the museum and in service of France's nationalist ideology. Traditionally, the allegorical body both bears and conceals meaning. In the modern context, however, especially (but not exclusively) of colonialism, the allegorical body bears its use value and serves to conceal an imperial ideology. Whether it is a diorama of “live natives” at work or the very locus of the exhibition in the working-class suburbs of Paris and the subsequent shifting frames of reference into which such images are forced, in modernity work itself turns into a work of allegory.

Keywords:   allegory, Paris, Colonial Exhibition, Musée du Quai Branly, museum, meaning, colonialism, ideology, modernity

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