Wangechi Mutu: A Fantastic Journey is a brief (50 pieces) but immersive exploration of the evolution of an artist. Although Mutu is a multimedia artist, she is perhaps best known for her large-scale, wildly colourful collages on Mylar. This thoughtfully presented survey includes presentations in a number of other media: video, site-specific fabric installations and, importantly, selections from the artist’s sketchbooks dating back to 2005, the first time they have been on display. The exhibition rooms themselves are dimly lit with walls cast in soothing earth tones, a common curatorial choice which, in this case, effectively highlights the expansive energy of each piece.
There is no singular question at the core of Mutu’s work. The collages themselves are complex, multi-layered, explosively hued pieces in which many themes are addressed simultaneously. This work is the ultimate existential mash-up. Mutu explores the complexities of this world by asking and answering a thousand questions at once.
This gilded and alabaster object is an altar that features the biblical story of the prodigal son. Its small size made it portable and easy to display inside a house. Discover more about this artwork during our Spotlight Gallery Conversations this Thursday, Friday, and Saturday at 11:00 a.m.
Looking at paintings from the renaissance,
I like to imagine that there was a time
when women loved their bodies so much,
they only wore clothes at their own convenience.
A time when they were so holy, so respected,
that men painted them but dared not touch them.
A time when women walked on air,
when they shaved nothing,
When they went wild on wine and ambrosia
when they gave way to sins of the flesh
without guilt and without fear.
I imagine a time when “sin” was a word that meant nothing–
when the only sins were touching those
who did not want to be touched
or lying of love.
I imagine a world far away,
captured in acrylic and oil,
spun into forever by hands steadier than mine.
A world where naked women hold their babies to their breasts,
where they rise from the cups of seashells,
a world untouched by time or pain,
a world behind the fresco.
This lion aquamanile was restored before entering the museum collection in 1986. When conservators examined the piece in the 80’s they suspected that some pieces were “foreign”, meaning they were taken from other objects. This year the lion was examined for inclusion in the upcoming reinstallation of the Asian galleries. The joins had become unstable because the adhesive used was water soluble and highly susceptible to fluctuations in the environment.
With a small amount of humidification the previous restoration was reversed and the object was returned to the many pieces the original restorer began with. Once apart, it became clear which pieces don’t belong. For example, the majority of the pieces forming the lion featured the turquoise colored glaze on just one side and the foreign pieces were glazed on both. Also, the thickness of the pieces was compared. In the end, it seems there were only a few foreign pieces and these will be kept aside as I begin to put the object back together using more stable adhesive.