Jörg Herold on the Armory Show,
February 23. – 26. 02. 2007, Pier 94 in New York City
Galerie EIGEN + ART
Jörg Herold, The Caucasian.
Looking at the findings of Mr. Blumenbach
20.01. – 14.04. 2007 in Leipzig

For decades scientists from all over the world have been enthusiastic about the discoveries in the dusty plains and rocky depths of the Caucasus. In Georgia, not far from where the Pinesauri river flows into the Maschawera, lies the renowned village Patara Dmanisi. Near the village on a small plateau, palaeontologists found thousands of animal fossils dating back 2.5–1.4 million years.
And then, in 2001, there was a sensation – the discovery of a 1.8m-year-old human being, the oldest homo outside of the African continent. Yet this ancestral relict had an extremely small
skull and jawbones. Its brain was only half the size of that of a modern human being. “If you imagine what his body was like,” conjectured one of the palaeontologists, “then you have someone who was small, of slight build with a short nose and large, strong teeth.” Despite these disadvantageous physical features, the species developed marvellously – the small brain was suffi – cient for evolution and began to conquer Europe.

Over two hundred years ago, at home in Göttingen, a Professor could not have imagined any of this excitement. Herr Blumenbach collects skulls from every nation. He wants to create order,
clarify the varieties of the human race.
Over the course of years, with a keen eye for hundreds of boiled heads, he becomes excited by a recently deceased Georgian woman. His attention is directed entirely at her even proportions,
which delight him. Her form is gently rounded, her forehead even and her cheekbones do not protrude. Her dental cavity is quite round, the front teeth in both jaws are straight. He puts her in the fi rst category of his race system. Given the title “Miss Caucasia”, from now on a typology becomes known around the world, existing to this day in the wondrous term “Caucasian”, used in the census.
Naturally, from then on Herr Blumenbach declared the Caucasian race to be the original race and everything else to be a deviation from the norm. Of course the Professor was not aware of the consequences of his ideas. He was not able to see into the future, how people seized upon his ideal and mutilated it into a signal for their racial mania. But until this time there was a lot of research and travelling to be done. Many made their way into the promised land of the caucasians, to the place where the standard of beauty reigns.

In 2006, the documentary archaeologist Jörg Herold set off to view Dmansi and to travel through the legendary Caucasus. Perhaps also to fi nd Herr Blumenbach’s Georgian woman who, he hoped, still radiated beauty.
With him, he had writings, pictures and myths which shaped centuries of the European mind and history and are most closely linked with the Alpine mountain range between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea.
He visited the house in which father Stahl was born, with millions of skeletons in its cupboards, surrounded by steeply rising cliffs, the Daral ravine right down to the borderland leading to the idyllic Russian-Chechen region.
He documented and carried out an inventory of a bakery in Tifl is and the refugee apartment of Ms. M., a Georgian woman from Abkhazia driven out by war thirteen years previously. Of course he visited the excavation site of Dmanisi and was surprised by new fi ndings. He visited places inhabited by Swabian farmers who once fl ed starving Germany, hurrying towards paradise and almost meeting their salvation and the Saviour.
Flicking through “Heimweh” (“Homesickness”), Jörg Herold encountered Johann Heinrich Jung, known as Jung-Stilling, the author of the grey man, the harbinger of the thousand-year
kingdom of Christ on earth.
He peered through the spectacles of the delinquent hunter and skull enthusiast Lombroso, with a measuring look at the world of crime, so high in the peaks, and yet so low in the mind. Back at home, the memories of the Caucasus visit were put into shape whilst still fresh. Drawings, photos, fi lms and objects can be viewed in Leipzig as of the 20 January. Later exhibitions can be seen in New York in February and Brussels in March.

pdf-links:
The Caucasian. Looking at the findings of Mr. Blumenbach
Das Kaukasische. Eine Nachlese zu Empfindungen des Herrn Blumenbach

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