About the Exhibition
Discover the diverse practice of Kenyan-born, Brooklyn–based artist Wangechi Mutu in this free major presentation at the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia in Sydney featuring collage, drawing, sculpture, installation and video.
Be drawn into contemplations on beauty, consumerism, colonialism, race, and gender through Mutu’s exquisite, provocative works. See how she combines drawn elements and image fragments from a variety of media including fashion magazines and ethnographic journals, as well as representations of the female body from pornography, in her collages.
Mutu’s collaged bodies are frequently subjected to strange deformations or embellishments, combining elements of humour, pathos and sexuality in often surprising ways. Collage works featured at the MCA include the Bedroom Masks series, The Ark Collection (2006) of erotic collaged postcards, and the X Ray series (2008) of strangely morphed life forms which sit between human, animal and plant worlds. The single collage Intertwined (2003) extends this theme with its elegant depiction of two conjoined female figures with canine heads.
Watch video works featuring the artist in a range of roles that poetically illustrate the realities of Africa’s colonial past: hacking at branches with a machete, endlessly scrubbing soap circles on a dirt floor, and walking into the ocean while singing Amazing Grace in Kikuyu, recalling the loss of life at sea on the slave ships bound for America or Europe.
Experience Mutu’s recent major installations including the multi-sensory Exhuming Gluttony, Another Requiem (2011) featuring surfaces groaning with excess and suspended red wine bottles that drip their contents onto a banquet table below, creating blood-like blooms. My Dirty Little Heaven (2010) is a series of collages, videos and sculptural elements combined in a dramatic interplay; long slatted tables recall those used to stack exhumed bodies following the Rwandan genocide. The work was originally commissioned by Deutsche Bank, the Major Partner of the exhibition, and created as part of the Deutsche Bank Artist of the Year program.
Your immersion in other-worldly spaces continues as Mutu transforms a vast gallery wall into a three-dimensional lunar landscape. Perhaps the Moon Will Save Us features an overstuffed, sagging moon made from fur pelts and costume jewellery; tiny collaged pigs with fur wings ‘fly’ across the wall, a satirical play on the idea of hope in a world gone mad. Rising from the gallery floor, the artist’s Mountetas – volcanic mounds made from packing tape – also evoke a strange alien world.
Be captivated by Mutu’s storytelling power in the haunting Black Thrones (2011–12), towering constructions made from chairs, plastic bags, ribbon, cassette tape and feathers reflecting the ‘hush arbour’ – an area surrounded by trees where African-American slaves would gather to mourn their losses.
Don’t miss this thought-provoking and stimulating selection of recent and new artworks by this exciting international artist, shown for the first time in Australia.