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The Ghent universal and international exhibition of 1913: reconciling historicism, modernity and exoticism

Davy Depelchin (UGent)
Author
Organization
Abstract
The aims and objectives of the organizing committee of the Exposition universelle et internationale de Gand were to boost the economic activities of the city and its surroundings (mainly the textile industry and horticulture) and to emphasize the cultural regeneration of the provincial capital. In Ghent modernity was firmly rooted in the past. Despite the Court of Honor, visibly inspired by the White City of the Chicago Columbian Exhibition in 1893, the exhibition grounds contained different sections where historicism and traditionalism were omnipresent (even in the so-called Village moderne). From the 1880’s onwards the city had invested in the redevelopment of the historical centre ‘liberating’ the medieval monuments from their ‘parasitic’ structures and inserting new buildings that supported the modern-picturesque image the local government aimed at. The advertisements for the world’s fair were also promulgating this newly created brand. But how to reconcile the local agenda with the universal character of the world’s fair? Although they hardly appeared on flyers and posters and although they were less often reproduced on the picture postcards that were sold, exotic structures were an integrant part of the event. One thinks especially of the North-African, the Middle and the Far Eastern pavilions. Persia was the only one to possess an eye-catching pavilion on the Avenue des Nations – which proved to be extremely popular. Morocco, Tunisia and the unofficial Algerian participation were banned to a wooded part of the site, near the commercial evergreen called Cairo Street. So the perhaps most explicit manifestations of the universal character of the world’s fair were not on primary locations. It seems to be a specific choice. One that one could hardly imagine being made for state capital exhibitions.
Keywords
Municipal Identity, City Branding, National Identity, Pavilion Architecture, Great Exhibition, Universal and International Exhibition, World's Fair, Ghent 1913, Historicism, Orientalism, Traditionalism, Modernity, Exoticism, Urban Planning, Architecture

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Citation

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MLA
Depelchin, Davy. “The Ghent Universal and International Exhibition of 1913: Reconciling Historicism, Modernity and Exoticism.” Cultures of International Exhibitions, 1840-1940 : Great Exhibitions in the Margins. Ed. Marta Filipová. Farnham: Ashgate, 2015. 183–201. Print.
APA
Depelchin, D. (2015). The Ghent universal and international exhibition of 1913: reconciling historicism, modernity and exoticism. In M. Filipová (Ed.), Cultures of international exhibitions, 1840-1940 : great exhibitions in the Margins (pp. 183–201). Farnham: Ashgate.
Chicago author-date
Depelchin, Davy. 2015. “The Ghent Universal and International Exhibition of 1913: Reconciling Historicism, Modernity and Exoticism.” In Cultures of International Exhibitions, 1840-1940 : Great Exhibitions in the Margins, ed. Marta Filipová, 183–201. Farnham: Ashgate.
Chicago author-date (all authors)
Depelchin, Davy. 2015. “The Ghent Universal and International Exhibition of 1913: Reconciling Historicism, Modernity and Exoticism.” In Cultures of International Exhibitions, 1840-1940 : Great Exhibitions in the Margins, ed. Marta Filipová, 183–201. Farnham: Ashgate.
Vancouver
1.
Depelchin D. The Ghent universal and international exhibition of 1913: reconciling historicism, modernity and exoticism. In: Filipová M, editor. Cultures of international exhibitions, 1840-1940 : great exhibitions in the Margins. Farnham: Ashgate; 2015. p. 183–201.
IEEE
[1]
D. Depelchin, “The Ghent universal and international exhibition of 1913: reconciling historicism, modernity and exoticism,” in Cultures of international exhibitions, 1840-1940 : great exhibitions in the Margins, M. Filipová, Ed. Farnham: Ashgate, 2015, pp. 183–201.
@incollection{6841796,
  abstract     = {The aims and objectives of the organizing committee of the Exposition universelle et internationale de Gand were to boost the economic activities of the city and its surroundings (mainly the textile industry and horticulture) and to emphasize the cultural regeneration of the provincial capital. In Ghent modernity was firmly rooted in the past. Despite the Court of Honor, visibly inspired by the White City of the Chicago Columbian Exhibition in 1893, the exhibition grounds contained different sections where historicism and traditionalism were omnipresent (even in the so-called Village moderne). From the 1880’s onwards the city had invested in the redevelopment of the historical centre ‘liberating’ the medieval monuments from their ‘parasitic’ structures and inserting new buildings that supported the modern-picturesque image the local government aimed at. The advertisements for the world’s fair were also promulgating this newly created brand.
But how to reconcile the local agenda with the universal character of the world’s fair? Although they hardly appeared on flyers and posters and although they were less often reproduced on the picture postcards that were sold, exotic structures were an integrant part of the event. One thinks especially of the North-African, the Middle and the Far Eastern pavilions. Persia was the only one to possess an eye-catching pavilion on the Avenue des Nations – which proved to be extremely popular. Morocco, Tunisia and the unofficial Algerian participation were banned to a wooded part of the site, near the commercial evergreen called Cairo Street. So the perhaps most explicit manifestations of the universal character of the world’s fair were not on primary locations. It seems to be a specific choice. One that one could hardly imagine being made for state capital exhibitions.},
  author       = {Depelchin, Davy},
  booktitle    = {Cultures of international exhibitions, 1840-1940 : great exhibitions in the Margins},
  editor       = {Filipová, Marta},
  isbn         = {9781472432810},
  keywords     = {Municipal Identity,City Branding,National Identity,Pavilion Architecture,Great Exhibition,Universal and International Exhibition,World's Fair,Ghent 1913,Historicism,Orientalism,Traditionalism,Modernity,Exoticism,Urban Planning,Architecture},
  language     = {eng},
  pages        = {183--201},
  publisher    = {Ashgate},
  title        = {The Ghent universal and international exhibition of 1913: reconciling historicism, modernity and exoticism},
  year         = {2015},
}