New York-based, Kenya-born artist Wangechi Mutu’s first retrospective in Australia is a hit.
Wangechi Mutu’s first solo survey exhibition of mixed media collage, installation and sculpture at Australia’s Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) introduced her poetic works to a new audience and received rave reviews from the local press.
The Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (MCA) in Sydney hosted the first Australian retrospective of Kenya-born artist Wangechi Mutu from 23 May to 14 August 2013. The New York-based artist is known for her mixed media collages and installations made with common materials like packing tape. The exhibition, titled “Wangechi Mutu”, included collages, installations and sculptures created within the past ten years.
The Wangechi Mutu survey received favourable press from numerous sources such as The Telegraph, which wrote: “the exhibition of the Kenyan-born artist’s work, which opens today at the MCA, has come together beautifully after years of preparation.” ABC Sydney called it “a beautiful and intriguing art exhibition,” noting “these are rich and fascinating works and worth the visit.” Other press includes Sydney’s Time Out, Art Daily, and Art Info.
Deutsche Bank, the sponsor of the exhibition, reports in its ArtMag:
Mutu’s art resembles a surreal cosmos populated by an entire armada of hybrid creatures—crosses between human, animal, and plant, monster and machine. Beauty and terror are inseparably intertwined in her work.
MCA’s press release describes Mutu’s work as exploring “the contradictions of female and cultural identity and makes reference to colonial history, contemporary African politics, and the international fashion industry.”
As the exhibition press release states,
Mutu’s collages represent bodies subjected to strange deformations or embellishments, combining drawn elements and image fragments from a variety of media including fashion magazines and ethnographic journals, as well as representations of the female body in pornography.
Rachel Kent, MCA’s Chief Curator and the curator of the exhibition, says the artist blends humour, pathos and sexuality in surprising ways, as seen in Intertwined, which deals with themes of conquest and alienation.
Wangechi Mutu says in the press release that her starting point is the “search for the black female body and how it is represented through popular media. ” In her art, she takes a critical look at how women are depicted culturally.
About the artist
Wangechi Mutu was born in 1972, in Nairobi, Kenya. She studied anthropology and art and went on to exhibit around the world. Her solo shows include the Deutsche Guggenheim, Berlin (2010); Kunsthalle Wien Museum, Vienna (2008); San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco (2005), and Art Pace, San Antonio (2004).
Her awards and grants include Deutsche Bank Artist of the Year, Berlin (2010); Cooper Union Urban Visionaries Awards, Emerging Talent Award, New York (2008); The Joan Mitchell Foundation Painters & Sculptors Award, New York (2007); and the Studio Museum in Harlem Artist in Residence, New York (2003).
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