011208: Kunsthalle Wien project space: Wangechi Mutu – In Whose Image?

Kunsthalle Wien project space: Wangechi Mutu – In Whose Image? Horror Beauties with torn souls The inclination to deform and inflict pain to one’s own body is a common practice in many cultures and has different psychosomatic roots and cultural meanings. Tattoos and cuts were highly esteemed by primitive tribes. Nowadays they are more of a fashion statement or proof of an individual life style. Kenyan born artist Wangechi Mutu’s grotesque and strange individuals, which are depicted in her colourful collages made of newspaper clippings, pornographic magazines, medical books, glitter, adhesive tapes or rabbit fur and leather made her famous in the USA. Mutu, who moved to New York in the 1990s, was compared to internationally renowned artists such as Nara, Murakami or Essenhigh. Her figures challengingly take up the stereotype essentials of a mystic, primitive, simple and post-colonial “exotic femininity”. They also represent the western ideals of excessive sexuality and are both innocent as well as guilty: “Amazing Graces”, witches, or African Lora Crafts – the insubordinate strong and at the same time neurotic women, who self-consciously fight against all evil ,and whom one should never stand in the way. The project space at the Kunsthalle Wien is focusing on Mutu’s portraits, among them the well-known collage edition “Histology of the Different Classes of Uterine Tumours” as well as new double portraits, comparable with profiling photos depicting faces from the front and the side. They are composed of different body parts, jewels, and parts of motorbikes that flow into one another. The portraits of these anonymous horror hybrids are of a true artistic magnificence and remind of Arcimboldo’s art historical superiority as well as Gustav Klimt’s elegance. The earlier collages show mask-like portraits of mutating creatures. These monstrous faces, often decorated with black glitter and thereby reminding of ornamental (death) masks, connect modern vision with provenance and folklore. Kunsthalle Wien project space 1040 Vienna, Karlsplatz/Treitlstrasse 1-3, until 07.12.08 www.kunsthallewien.at

Kunsthalle Wien Karlsplatz
1040 Wien, Karlsplatz/Treitlstraße 2
Tel: +43 1 52189-0
Email: office@kunsthallewien.at
Öffnungszeiten: Di-So 11-19, Do 11-21 h

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