Presenting a wide variety of exhibits, the presentation reveals the importance of Islamicate cultures to Western fine and applied art, from Wassily Kandinsky to Gülsün Karamustafa.

Art against the backdrop of changing contexts


CHF 23.–/18.– (concessions and groups) inclusive Collection.
Free admission for members, children and young people under the age of 17.

Note for groups

We look forward to welcoming you to the Kunsthaus. For organizational reasons, prior registration is required. 44 253 84 84


‘Re-Orientations’ is an exclusive production created by the Kunsthaus itself. The approximately 170 drawings, watercolours, paintings and photographs, metal, ceramic and glass objects as well as textiles, videos, installations and an animated film are drawn mainly from European collections, and have been brought together to set up a unique dialogue. Curator Dr Sandra Gianfreda and a team of experts have spent two years preparing the presentation. It places works by the following artists in the context of developments in society: Clara Laila Abid Alsstar, Hélène Adant, Anila Quayyum Agha, Nevin Aladağ, Baltensperger + Siepert, Muhammet Ali Baş, Marwan Bassiouni, Edmond Bénard, Henriette Browne, Carlo Bugatti, Théodore Deck, William De Morgan, Mariano Fortuny y Madrazo, Karl Gerstner, Jean-Léon Gérôme, Jaʿfar ibn Najaf ʿAli, Elisabeth Jerichau-Baumann, Wassily Kandinsky, Gülsün Karamustafa, Bouchra Khalili, Paul Klee, J. & L. Lobmeyr, Henri Matisse, Gabriele Münter, MuhammadʿAli Ashraf, Muhammad Jaʿfar, Muhammad Yusuf, Osman Hamdi Bey, Lotte Reiniger, Charles Claude Rudhardt, Salah al-Din. Also represented are numerous unknown historical artists from Algeria, Egypt, India, Iran, Iraq, Morocco, Spain, Syria, Tunisia, Turkey and Uzbekistan.

Historical explanations and definitions help to elucidate the selection and interrelationships of these and other artistic positions.



With a language-art intervention by Clara Laila Abid Alsstar and Muhammet Ali Bas in DE / EN / FR / IT. Free with online ticket, CHF 3.- with ticket purchase at the box office.

Where is the exhibition located?

In the large exhibition hall on the 1st floor of the Moser Building. See our online visitor guide!

‘Re-Orientations’ is an artistic plea for a continuation of the transcultural exchange between East and West, South and North, extending beyond ethnic, religious and national boundaries. It is also a critical examination of how we deal with our cultural heritage. Dr Sandra Gianfreda developed the concept with the assistance of a scientific panel comprising the following members: Prof. Rémi Labrusse, Professor of Contemporary Art History at the University of Paris-Nanterre; Dr Axel Langer, Curator Near and Middle East and Swiss masks, Museum Rietberg, Zurich; Hannan Salamat, M.A. in cultural studies and theology with a focus on Islam, lecturer at the ZIID – Zürcher Institut für interreligiösen Dialog, Zurich (Zurich Institute for Interfaith Dialogue).


41 Min


Kunsthaus Zürich in conversation with the Islamic Media Club

20 Min

Anila Quayyum Agha_A Beautiful Dispair

Re-Orientations with the Zurich Youngsters

Accompanying programme

Nacer Khemir. Views on Paul Klee (in French)

Nacer Khemir

Talk with the French-Tunisian filmmaker and artist

Nacer Khemir (*1948 in Tunisia) is at once a writer and storyteller, filmmaker and visual artist. He is the author of some fifteen books as well as fifteen films, including "La Trilogie du Désert", distributed in Switzerland by Trigon-Film. When he discovered the works of Paul Klee (1879-1940) at the age of 13, his view changed. An admirer of the German artist, he travelled from Tunis to Cairouan in 2007 to retrace the journey Klee had made in 1914. This journey is the subject of the film "The Journey to Tunis", directed by the Swiss director Bruno Moll. After fifteen years, his admiration for Klee led him to write a personal book, which will be published in 2023 under the title "Paul Klee and I". An encounter between two cultures that have enriched each other. Talk will be held in French.

Friday, 24.3. 18:30-20:00

  • Location: Moser Building, lecture hall
  • Cost: CHF 15.- / CHF 10.- (reduced) / CHF 5.- (members and with valid admission ticket)


Re-Orientations. From the idea to the exhibition (in German)


A conversation between curator Sandra Gianfreda and Christoph Stuehn

In a conversation with Christoph Stuehn, curator Sandra Gianfreda provides insights into the preparation of the exhibition. Photos are used to take a look behind the scenes of making the exhibition. How was the concept developed and the selection of works made? How do the complex processes with the many people involved work out? These include lenders, exhibition organisers, conservators, architects and museum technicians. What were the challenges involved in such a multi-layered topic as Re-Orientations? Photos are used to take a look behind the scenes of exhibition making.

Wednesday 26.4. 18:30-20:00

  • Venue: Moser Building, Large Lecture Hall
  • Cost: CHF 10.- / CHF 8.- (reduced); CHF 4.- (for members and with valid exhibition ticket and for members)


Out of the Box - Exhibitions in Dialogue (in German)


Guided Dialogue Tour

Dialogue tour with Sandra Gianfreda, curator Re-Orientations, and Monika Jagfeld, curator Outsider Art under the Crescent Why does Western art history know categories such as fine art and applied art, Islamic arts or Outsider Art, while other cultures do not? Why and by whom are works of art divided into such categories in the first place? How useful or helpful are they? And for whom? Sandra Gianfreda and Monika Jagfeld explore these exciting questions in a dialogue-based guided tour of the exhibitions "Re-Orientations" at the Kunsthaus Zürich and "Outsider Art under the Crescent" at the open art museum in St. Gallen.

Wednesday, 3.5. 18:00-19:30

  • Location: Moser Building, meeting point "Public guided tours
  • Costs: Admission tickets + CHF 6.- / CHF 4.- (members)
  • With FM group guidance system. Suitable for people with hearing impairments.
  • Limited number of participants. Registration required.


Cultural Appropriation / Appreciation? (in German)


Panel discussion in cooperation with MANAZIR

Talk with Jens Balzer (writer and author DIE ZEIT, Berlin), Schoole Mostafawy (curator Global Art History, Badisches Landesmuseum, Karlsruhe), Nika Timashkova (artist, Basel) and Rohit Jain (social anthropologist and racism researcher, University of Bern), moderated by Laura Hindelang; with an input presentation by Jens Balzer, author of "Ethik der Appropriation". Cultural appropriation or cultural appreciation? Currently, the term "cultural appropriation" is causing heated discussions. Some are against cultural workers (of the West) making use of other cultures, others consider such a procedure indispensable for their own artistic expression. Can culture be considered property? Where are the boundaries of exploitation to be drawn? Are cultures closed, homogeneous entities or have they always cross-fertilised each other and been permeable?

Friday, 31.5. 18:30-20:00

  • Venue: Moser Building, large lecture hall
  • Cost: CHF 15.- / CHF 10.- (reduced); CHF 5.- with valid exhibition ticket and for members


One Thousand and One Days (in German)

Parastou Forouhar, Self-immolation, Fall, Drowning, 2022 © Parastou Forouhar

Artist Talk

In the ancient oriental fairy tale collection One Thousand and One Nights, the garden is described as a divine space that overcomes the inadequacy of reality. In Persian miniature painting, it becomes an image. There, the painted garden unfolds through ornaments that are arranged rhythmically. This structure is ideological and tolerates neither leeway nor deviation. In her artistic work, Parastou Forouhar takes ornaments as a starting point to illustrate the terror of dictatorial regimes. As an activist, she travels to Tehran every year to remember her parents, famous opposition figures, and maintains the closest contacts with like-minded people. In conversation, Susann Wintsch and the artist trace these interwoven life lines.

Friday, 9.6. 18:30-20:00

  • Venue: Moser Building, large lecture hall
  • Cost: CHF 15.- / CHF 10.- (reduced); CHF 5.- with valid exhibition ticket and for members


Film Programme at Picadilly Cinema

Still from "Le Grand Voyage"

Arthouse Cinemas

Accompanying the exhibition "Re-Orientations. Europe and the Islamic Arts, 1851 to the Present" at the Kunsthaus Zürich, the Arthouse Cinemas are showing a supporting programme with films from the entire spectrum of and about the "Oriental" world, ranging from women critical of the system to European foreign viewpoints.

  • 26 March: "Le grand voyage" (Morocco, 2004) by Ismaël Ferroukhi
  • 16. April: "Lawrence of Arabia" (Great Britain, 1962) by David Lean
  • 7. May: "Women without men" (Iran/USA, 2009) by Shirin Neshat
  • 21 May: "Bal" (Turkey, 2010) by Semih Kaplanoğlu
  • 4. June: "A dragon arrives!" (Iran, 2016) by Mani Haghighi


Guided Tours


Public guided tour

  • Englisch: Sat 3.5. at 11 a.m.
  • Costs: Exhibition Ticket + CHF 6.– / CHF 4.– (concessions and members)



Private guided tour

We will be happy to organize a tour tailored to the needs of your group.

  • Max. 20 people
  • German, English, French, Italian
  • CHF 190.– (German) / CHF 220.– (other languages) + Admission Ticket (group tarif)
  • Duration: 1 hour


Ill. on top: Anila Quayyum Agha, A Beautiful Despair, 2022