‘Re-Orientations’ adopts a transcultural approach to shed new light on European artists’ engagement with art from the Islamic world, and illustrate the importance of cultures shaped by Islam for both the fine and applied arts in Europe. Islam has long been part of European culture. At a time when mention of its name provokes unease, fear and even antipathy in Western discourse, the Kunsthaus believes it is important to present a more nuanced picture of Islam and promote cross-cultural understanding. ‘Re-Orientations’ sets up a dialogue between historical examples of Islamic art and the works of Western or Western-influenced artists in the early modern era, as well as presenting contemporary pieces. Some 200 works – from drawings, watercolours, paintings and photographs to objects made of metal, ceramic and glass as well as textiles and even videos, installations and an animated film – illustrate the diversity of this cultural transfer. With works by Nevin Aladağ, Baltensperger + Siepert, Marwan Bassiouni, Théodore Deck, Mariano Fortuny y Madrazo, Osman Hamdi, Elisabeth Jerichau-Baumann, Wassily Kandinsky, Gülsün Karamustafa, Paul Klee, J. & L. Lobmeyr, Gabriele Münter, Lotte Reiniger and others.

Ill: Paul Klee, Red and White Domes, 1914 (detail) Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, photo © Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen