Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Wangechi Mutu at the MCA - 9 July

So here we are with the Curator's Assistant or the Assistant Curator (there is a little bit of uncertainty about the exact title, and I am sure a lot of rank between the two) for a walk through of the Wangechi Mutu exhibit at the MCA. For those that came in late, Wangechi is kind of a big deal. Kenyan born and living in the US, she was awarded 'artist of the year' by my old bank back in 2010.  This is her first show in Aus, what would the locals think?

I liked quite a few works, but in a show as broad as this there are always going to be a few things that didn't float my boat.  I didn't get the significance of the recycled plastic bag soccer balls and am still struggling to understand Mutu's massive fascination with packing tape (although it was very interesting to learn that Wangechi is very particular about the correct shade of tape, and in fact all the packing tape you see here has been imported from the US).  For mine, the collage works were the strongest.  My favourite was probably 'Intertwined' (pictured top). I actually had this poster at my desk for a few years (a freebie of bank propaganda) so it is very familiar and maybe was what I was 'expecting' to see.  I was excited to go to the NC17 room but my prurience was not to be sated here, not all that shocking.  One room contained a collection of sculptures that the artist called 'blackthrones'.  I would include a photo but the MCA is always loathe to put enough images online, preferring you to do the old fashioned thing and actually visit. Here's a link to some blackthrones exhibited in Germany back in the day. These were old chairs that have been extended and given some anthropomorphic qualities.  Although they also really looked like pimped out tennis umpire chairs.  In the big MCA room the masking tape mountains were quite random, don't kick them as they are hollow.  The big star for me was the purpose built room for 'Exhuming Gluttony: Another Requiem' (pictured above).  Loved the lights, loved the pelt trophy and loved the story that one of the walls has bullet holes so the artist had to get in here and personally shoot some holes to give it the authentic effect.  Although I am sure her assistants had to build those packing tape mountains! Fair call, I would keep the shooting gig to myself as well.

Points:  I am going to give the 3 points to the Exhuming Gluttony bit.  Probably a little too much spilled red wine to want to replicate at home but a great museum piece.  2 points to Intertwined, this is the 'signature' image that comes to mind when I read her name and it is no wonder the MCA is using it for the poster they are flogging in the gift shop.  I will give one point to the tennis umpire chairs, not something you see every day!

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