Love and Ethnology
The Colonial Dialectic of Sensitivity (after Hubert Fichte)
The German writer Hubert Fichte (1935-1986) was fascinated by arts and religions of the African diaspora. In the 1970s, he travelled cities like Salvador da Bahia and Rio de Janeiro, Santiago de Chile, Dakar, New York and Lisbon, developing his utopia of a radical sensitivity. This sensitivity would serve research alongside intense interviews, intimacy through (gay) sexuality, self-reflexivity, and a condensed poetry of objectivity. Fichte’s experiments with dialogical forms of writing were incorporated in his monumental, unfinished cycle of novels Die Geschichte der Empfindlichkeit (The History of Sensitivity).
The exhibition and research project in cooperation with the Goethe-Institut, Hubert Fichte: Love and Ethnology, opens these works for a critical contemporary discussion. Since 2017, selected novels have been translated into Portuguese, English, French, Spanish and Wolof. For the first time, this stimulated a reception of Fichte’s writings in the places of their creation. Exhibitions curated on-site showed new artistic works. The concluding Berlin exhibition Love and Ethnology – The Colonial Dialectic of Sensitivity (after Hubert Fichte) gathers these inverted gazes and presents them against the backdrop of ethnology and the aesthetic avant-garde of post-war West Germany.