Vincent Vulsma‘s interests are directed toward the effects of shifting cultural objects across different social and historical contexts, investigating the role that artists and other art specialists have in these processes of value-making. He brings together objects and patterns taken from their contexts in ethnographic collections and the canons of modernist design and photography, deliberately moving back and forth along the lines between what is classified as commodity, art or ethnographic object.
The central object of ‘A Sign of Autumn’ in the SMBA is a Baulé mask, a loan from the Tropenmuseum in Amsterdam. The mask came to Vulsma’s attention because of its rich acquisition and exhibition history. Other elements of the exhibition are a series of large-scale Jacquard-woven reproductions of Kuba-textiles and a series of assemblages, combining a selection of stools made in the Congo (probably around the 1930s) with a set of Ray Eames’ Walnut Stools, which were designed in 1960 and which are still industrially produced and commercially distributed today.