Louis Agassiz (1807-2013): A Visitation
Sasha Huber is an artist who is both politically committed and deeply aware of historical injustices. Huber’s work “Rentyhorn” is a campaign to have the “Agassizhorn” mountain (on the border between the Swiss cantons of Berne and Valais), which is named after the Swiss racist, Apartheid theorist and glaciologist Louis Agassiz, renamed after a Congolese-born slave, Renty. A slave whom Agassiz humiliated by having him photographed “to prove the inferiority of the black race”.
By coincidence or rather as a consequence of Agassiz’s extensive travelling – there is an “Agassiz Rock” on Edinburgh’s Blackford Hill where the young glaciologist found a cave with a striated rock surface, which he identified as supporting his theories on the glacial formation of the European landscape. Huber has used this location to create her third self-portrait in the context of her work ‘Agassiz: The Mixed Traces Series. Somatological Triptych of Sasha Huber.’
At the opening event on Friday 11th October Thomas Gotz, a Swiss actor was employed by Huber to impersonate Agassiz, delivering a lecture of a text prepared by Swiss Agassiz scholar Hans Barth. A variation of this lecture can be viewed in the exhibition in the Deans Office.