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Alongside plants and animals, human beings have for many centuries been moulded in plaster. Time and again, this involved invasions of privacy, coercion and violence, which was especially problematic in colonial contexts. The collection of the Gipsfor-merei comprises moulds of almost 300 lifecasts, dating from the 1880s to the 1910s. They were made by anthropologists either on research trips to European colonies or at ‘human zoos’ in Berlin, with the ultimate purpose of presenting samples of clothing and body adornment in ethnological museums and to prove the alleged existence of different ‘human races’. The Gipsformerei made casts from these moulds and offered them for sale worldwide. By doing so it played an active role in the affirmation and popularisation of this discriminatory mindset.
© SMB, Gipsformerei
3D-Digitisation, Virtual Exhibition, Post-Production: Studio Jester Blank