|Kara Walker – Sammlung Deutsche Bank
17 May to 7 July 2002
Deutsche Guggenheim Berlin presents Kara Walker – Sammlung Deutsche Bank, the first large-scale exhibition of works in Germany by this Afro-American artist from May 17 to July 7, 2002. The presentation continues the series of exhibitions organized by the Deutsche Bank, featuring works from the Bank's own collection.
In her works Kara Walker focuses on questions of identity, racism and social injustice. Her historical figures, at first sight apparently harmless, mostly black silhouettes, subtly yet brutally combine episodes from the history of the American South with images from Walker's own imagination: "The silhouette was a near perfect solution to a complex project that I set for myself... to try and uncover the often subtle and uncomfortable ways racism, and racist and sexist stereotypes influence and script our everyday lives."
Walker's use of silhouettes grew out of an artistic tradition found in the American South an popular in the 19th century. "Here there is still a longing for a romanticised and homogenous 'past'. This longing retains all of its former power in the form of such dubious cultural manifestations as romance novels, pornographic fantasies, cartoons, antique postcards and collectible figurines." Yet the artist's works unmask a simplified view of history: on closer scrutiny her Victorian era genre studies reveal themselves to be drastic representations of a slave-owning society, that ignore the etiquette of political correctness and violate established taboos. For Walker's art is deliberately provocative: "My works are explicitly erotic, shameless. I would like visitors to stand in front of my work and feel just a little bit ashamed."
In her projections, which are composed of silhouettes attached to the wall, drawings and coloured light, Walker even integrates the observer directly into her visual universe. The latter's shadow draws him actively into the work, from which there is then no escape.
Born in California in 1969, Kara Walker studied at the Atlanta College of Art in Georgia and at the Rhode Island School of Arts in Providence. Her numerous solo and group exhibitions in the USA and Europe soon gained her an international reputation. In 1999 she was awarded the prestigious MacArthur Foundation scholarship and in the spring of 2002 represented the USA at the 25th São Paulo Biennale. Kara Walker lives and works in New York, where she holds a professorship at Columbia University.
Kara Walker – Sammlung Deutsche Bank presents works in paper and a projection from the Sammlung Deutsche Bank, as well as items from international private collections. In conjunction with the Berlin exhibition the Kunstverein Hannover is presenting a number of impressive scenarios by the artist featuring silhouettes and light installations from June 8 to August 4.
Inspired by silhouettes traditionally used as Christmas decorations in Germany, Kara Walker has created three paper-thin sculptures for her exhibition in the Deutsche Guggenheim Berlin. This Edition No. 19 of the Deutsche Guggenheim Berlin is modelled on filigree drawings executed by the artist on paper and cut out with scissors. The cut-outs were then been reproduced in stainless steel painted a matt black. Reproduced in a limited, signed edition of 100 copies, the cut-outs are available exclusively from the MuseumShop of the Deutsche Guggenheim Berlin for EURO 150 each.
The program of events accompanying the exhibition is inaugurated by a presentation entitled Schatten und Schnitte in der zeitgenössischen Kunst (Shadows and incisions in contemporary art), which will be delivered by Dr. Marion Ackermann on May 24 at 7 p.m. The art historian curated the exhibition SchattenRisse. Silhouetten und Cutouts (Out-lines. Silhouettes and Cut-outs) at the Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus in Munich in 2001.
Kara Walker constantly refers to contemporary literature by Afro-American women writers as a source of inspiration for her art. And on Thursday June 6, 2002 at 7:30 p.m., Eva Mattes will be reading texts by one of these authors: Toni Morrison. Last year the renowned German actress accompanied the winner of the Nobel Prize for literature on her reading tour of Germany.
As part of the Berlin Summer Festival of Literatures 2002, the translation workshop Dichter trifft Dichter will be taking place from June 29 to July 1. In the Deutsche Guggenheim Berlin, authors Tanella Boni (Abidjan/Côte d'Ivoire) and Ulrike Draesner (Berlin) will be exchanging their experiences with contemporary lyric poetry and presenting the results of this exchange on
July 4, in the atrium of the Deutsche Bank. The event is taking place in co-operation with the Berlin Summer Festival of Literatures.
Daily guided tours at 6 p.m., the popular Lunch Lectures on Wednesdays at
1 p.m., and the Sunday theme tours starting at 11:30 a.m. round off the accompanying program of events.
Press Conference: Thursday, May 16, 2002, 1 p.m.
Press Information: Deutsche Guggenheim Berlin
Svenja Simon/ Sara Bernshausen
Unter den Linden 13-15