DAK’ART 2014

11ème Biennale de l’Art Africain Contemporain 09/05>08/06

Wangechi Mutu


  • © Kathryn Parker Almanas

The End of eating Everything : animated video, 8’10", Edition of 6, 2013, Courtesy of the Artist and Gladstone Gallery, New York.

Much of Wangechi Mutu’s collage and painting work is done on Mylar, a heat-resistant transparent plastic that congeals the paint and pools it together rather than absorbing it. The medium produces a distinct style that Mutu carries over to her first animated movie The End of Eating Everything. Mutu often incorporates a discourse on the female body through hybrid creature-women in her work, so it comes as no surprise that this film features a female protagonist. The protagonist, played by American singer-songwriter Santigold, is a mysterious creature obsessed with consumption. She has the face of a woman, Medusa-like hair, and a massive body ridden with pustules, machine wheels, and numerous arms. The creature’s grotesque body, flying across the screen like a planet in space, emits dark clouds of smoke that add to the murky background. The accompanying soundscape, a melange of machine and organic sounds, is an original track by Mutu. The End of Eating Everything is a title that refers to the she-creature’s eventual self-implosion as a result of eating literally everything. Driven by selfish hunger, the creature consumes everything in her path. The ominous scene serves as a cautionary tale for our consumption-based culture with the axiom that the creature is her own demise. The creature serves as a metaphor for what can happen to our planet and to ourselves through greed and wastefulness.

Wangechi Mutu is a Kenyan-born artist currently residing in Brooklyn, New York. Her work is a visceral response to personal and social critiques of gender, culture, and mass media imagery. Exploring the female body as a site of engagement and provocation, her figures are lurking hybrids that possess an abject yet alluring beauty. The artist’s signature aesthetic samples from a multitude of image sources such as medical diagrams, glossy magazines, anthropology and botany texts, pornographic materials and traditional African arts, travel postcards, and mechanical and hunting publications. Combined with tactile materials like glitter, fake pearls, and synthetic hair, Mutu’s fleshy images occupy environments that are embedded with a physical and conceptual depth, resulting in a distinct form of mythmaking. Wangechi Mutu was the recipient of Deutsche Bank’s 2010 Artist of the Year award and was honored as Brooklyn Museum’s Artist of the Year (2013). She has exhibited at major institutions including recent one-person shows at the Brooklyn Museum; the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia; Nasher Museum of Art, North Carolina; Staatlichen Kunsthalle Baden-Baden; Montreal Museum of Contemporary Art; Wiels Contemporary Art Center, Brussels; Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto; Deutsche Guggenheim, Berlin; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; and Miami Art Museum. Mutu recently participated in the Kochi-Muziris Biennial, the Paris Triennial: Intense Proximity, the International Center of Photography’s Triennial and the Moscow Bienniale. Her work is included in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York; The Whitney Museum of American Art; The Studio Museum in Harlem; The Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; the Montreal Museum of Contemporary Art; and Tate Modern in London.

View online : www.wangechimutu.com