Discover the museum's exhibitions

23 May 2007 - 25 August 2007, Galleria Gottardo - Lugano

Patong. The Great Sculptures of the Peoples of Borneo

The exhibition was already displayed at the Galleria Gottardo of Lugano in 2007, where it was met with unanimous approval from the public. It presents a selection of wooden masterpieces sculpted between the end of the nineteenth century and the beginning of the twentieth century by various ethnic groups in Central and Southern Borneo. The exhibition presents the research conducted by the museum since November 2005, and has already registered some important results. The thirty-nine masterpieces are owned by the MCL and are part of the Brignoni Collection. They have a unique anthropological and artistic value, since they form the most important collection of its kind in the world.

Also exhibited:

  • from the 5th of October 2008 til the 15th of February 2008 at , Scuderie della Villa Borromeo d'Adda, Arcore.

Foto gallery

The exhibition

The exhibition is sponsored by the Italian Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities, the Regione Lombardia (Lombardia Region), the Provincia di Milano-Progetto Monza e Brianza (Province of Milan-Project Monza and Brianza) and the Indonesian Government, and is organised in collaboration with the Fondazione Antonio Mazzotta (Antonio Mazzotta Foundation) of Milan. For the first time this year, the exhibition has crossed the national border for the inauguration of the Scuderie di Villa Borromeo D’Adda, the new exhibition venue in the town of Arcore. The historical building has been recently restored, and after such a brilliant start it is likely that it will continuously host ethnic and anthropological exhibitions.

The artworks are divided into two sections:

  • the large sculptures representing ancestors, priests and spirits, the anthropomorphic pales used for sacrifices and some architectural elements carved with zoomorphic motives;
  • the smaller sculptures of the Dayak people.

Due to their monumental size, most of the scultpures that have been selected for this exhibition play both a pivotal architectural and ceremonial role. The exhibition represents a new definition of quality for the Italian audience. It also constitutes a privileged observatory to rebuild a culture of great artistic and anthropological relevance since it includes pieces of great value for the rapidly growing market of ethnic art.

On this occasion, Mazzotta Editions are publishing a thorough catalogue that describes the results of a long multidisciplinary study. This study has been mandatory to interprete the sculptures, and it includes written scientific contributions by the editors, Paolo Maiullari and Junita Arneld. It also includes essays by other important experts, such as Bernard Sellato, Nila Riwut, Antonio J. Guerriero, Wahyu Ernawati and Michael Heppel. The complexity of the project, the work conducted by the young MCL team and the reasons behind the exhibition which are divided in three parts are all explained in the introduction by the museum director Francesco Paolo Campione. The catalogue is published as the second main volume of a series of books entitled “Altrarti”. Mazzota Editions also offer an illustrated catalogue for youngsters “Il prezioso talismano di Djamit. Viaggio immaginario tra i Dayak”, supervised by Gina Abbati. This is addressed to an audience of young readers and contains a series of "fantastic" situations, in a simple and direct language, that are strongly related to the major themes of the exhibition.

The educational section of the Fondazione Antonio Mazzotta has also promoted a wide range of services and products to enrich the exhibition. Several activities are addressed to schools and to an adult audience. 

Other initiatives have been launched by the Department of Culture of Arcore. These mainly take place every Saturday during the exhibition period. The first appointment was the conference-visit entitled Da Matisse a Picasso a Max Ernst. Il primitivismo dei moderni, supervised by art historian Elisabetta Parente. The event was held on Saturday the 25th of October 2008 at 3.30 pm at the Scuderie di Villa Borromeo D’Adda. The Accademia Internazionale della Musica of Milan have organised several percussion workshops for children and adolescents and the Cooperativa Teatro Laboratorio of Brescia will present two representations of Bagong, a recited reading with shadow theatre and puppets.

Patong. La grande scultura dei popoli del Borneo dalle Collezioni del Museo delle Culture di Lugano

a cura di Paolo Maiullari & Junita Arneld
Edizioni Mazzotta, Milano 2008
Altrarti 2
Chf 50.-
ISBN 978-88-202-1900-0