Wangechi Mutu

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About the Artist

In collages, films, sculptures and installations Wangechi Mutu reflects on sexuality, femininity, ecology, politics, the rhythms and chaos of the world and our often damaging or futile efforts to control it. First recognised for paintings and collages concerned with the myriad forms of violence and misrepresentation visited upon women, especially black women, in the contemporary world, Mutu’s work has often featured writhing female forms. Their skin an eruption of buboes, mutant appendices like gun shafts or machine gears sprouting from the sockets of joints, their bodies half human, half hyena, they offer a glimpse at the perversions of the body and the mind wrought by forces active in the oppression of women. More recently, exploring and subverting cultural preconceptions of the female body and the feminine, in her works Mutu proposes worlds within worlds, populated by powerful hybridised female figures. Her practice has been described as engaging in her own unique form of myth-making, one in which the interweaving of fact with fiction opens up possibilities for another group of symbolic female characterisations, markedly different from those that appear in either classical history or popular culture. 

  • Artist Interview – Wangechi Mutu: <i>The NewOnes, will free Us</i>

    Artist Interview – Wangechi Mutu: The NewOnes, will free Us

    In this Metropolitan Museum of Art film, the artist discusses the inspiration and making of The NewOnes, will free Us, an exhibition of four sculptures that inaugurates The Met's annual facade commission, on view 9 September 2019-8 June 2020.

     

    'I feel like this particular commission of asking a contemporary artist to place something in these niches in the facade of The Metropolitan, for me, is one of the most proactive moves that a museum could make at this particular moment. The space has been empty since the Museum was built.

     

    When The Met approached me about this idea, I was actually looking at caryatids. Caryatids, throughout history, have carried these buildings to express the might and the wealth of a particular place. In Greek architecture, you see these women in their beautiful robes, and then in African sculpture across the continent you see these women either kneeling or sitting, sometimes holding a child, as well as holding up the seat of the king.

     

    It felt like this was a very ubiquitous position for women across many, many histories. How do I use this figure to change this conversation and this issue? I wanted to keep the DNA of the woman in an active pose, but I didn't want her to carry the weight of something or someone else…'

     

    See the interview

     

    Image: Installation view of The Seated II, 2019 for The Facade Commission: Wangechi Mutu, The NewOnes, will free Us, 2019.

    Courtesy of the Artist and Gladstone Gallery, New York and Brussels

    Image credit: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Photo by Bruce Schwarz

     

     

     

  • Previous exhibitions at Victoria Miro

    23 September - 5 November 2016

    Protest

    Doug Aitken, Jules de Balincourt, Vlassis Caniaris, Elmgreen & Dragset, Ian Hamilton Finlay, Christian Holstad, Isaac Julien, Yayoi Kusama, Wangechi Mutu, Alice Neel, Chris Ofili, Richard Prince, Sarah Sze, Wolfgang Tillmans, Rirkrit Tiravanija and Kara Walker Historical and...
    Victoria Miro Gallery I
    14 October - 19 December 2014

    Wangechi Mutu

    Nguva na Nyoka
    The gallery's second exhibition by the artist, widely known for her elaborate collages that explore and subvert cultural preconceptions of the female body and the feminine. Mutu's practice has been described as engaging in her own unique form of myth-making....
    Victoria Miro Gallery I
    22 June - 30 July 2010

    In the Company of Alice

    Group Exhibition
    'If you do not solve your painting problem in painting human beings, you do not solve it at all'. Gertrude Stein Hernan Bas, John Currin, Verne Dawson, Peter Doig, Marlene Dumas, David Harrison, NS Harsha, Boscoe Holder, Chantal Joffe, Karen...
    Victoria Miro Gallery I
    24 November 2007 - 19 January 2008

    Wangechi Mutu

    Yo.n.I
    One of a new generation of prominent female artists, Wangechi Mutu first came to attention in 2000 with her pin-up drawings and elaborate figurative collages. Mutu's aesthetic employs an economy of surface and depth to engage in her own unique...
    Victoria Miro Gallery I
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