Ghada Amer & Wangechi Mutu at Franklin Art Works
Opening January 27, 2007. 6-8pm
Minneapolis – Franklin Art Works is pleased to announce two concurrent solo exhibitions featuring new work by the internationally acclaimed New York artists Ghada Amer and Wangechi Mutu.
The exhibitions will open with a reception on Saturday , January 27, 2007 from 6-8pm (Ms. Amer will be present). Admission is free.
The Egyptian-born, New York-based artist will present new and recent embroidered canvases.
Viewing Amer's hand-embroidered paintings, with their delicate traceries of stray threads, involves a visual shift, as what appears to be a mass of abstract lines gradually comes into focus as highly erotic figures, displayed in a repetitive pattern. The work refuses to bow to the puritanical elements of both Western and Islamic culture, and what could be called 'institutionalized feminism,' with its own persistent myth of feminine virtue.
Amer subdues and overpowers the male-dominated language of Abstract Expressionism by sewing on top of it. Amer's embroidery of nude female images taken from pornographic magazine has a similar overpowering effect. The New York curator Valerie Cassel notes, "When we see those images in her paintings, we feel as if we've accidentally walked into a woman's boudoir, where she's pleasuring herself, rather than looking at something primarily designed and distributed for a male eye."
Amer's work has been exhibited in the US and abroad at the 2000 Whitney Biennial; the Tel Aviv Museum of Art; PS1 Contemporary Art Center; the 1999 Venice Biennale, SITE Santa Fe, and Gagosian Gallery. This is her first exhibition in Minnesota.
The Kenyan-born, New York-based artist will present a two gallery exhibition featuring a site-specific, sculptural installation and video projection.
The installation component is composed of three unadorned chairs with elongated legs that Mutu refers to as 'thrones.' Suspended from the ceiling above each chair will be a wine bottle that points downward and dispenses drops of red wine that fall to the floor through a hole in the chair, creating splotches on the ground. The gallery floor serves as a surrogate for the body: a bleeding body, a wounded and pierced body, an unwell body, a female body.
These sculptures also symbolize a Western power structure that is lofty and oppressive, yet simultaneously weak and structurally unsound. As the artist explained, "There is this tiny percentage of people who live like emperors because elsewhere blood is being shed. Women's bodies are particularly vulnerable to the whims of changing movements, governments, and social norms. They're like sensitive charts -- they indicate how a society feels about itself." The exhibition will also feature a new video by Mutu entitled 'Cutting Earth.'
Both exhibitions continue through March 24, 2007. For more information, to arrange school group visits or tours, please contact Franklin Art Works staff at 612-872-7494.