Carrie Mae Weems in Europe


Author: Rachel Martin


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Württembergischer Kunstverein, a Stuttgart art museum, is set to present the first comprehensive solo exhibition of the artist Carrie Mae Weems in both Germany and Europe. Carrie Mae Weems: The Evidence of Things Not Seen will open privately on March 31, 2022 with the artist in attendance, opening to the public on April 2. The title of the exhibition is borrowed from a book by author James Baldwin.


The works among the exhibition collection include her photographic projects, videos, objects and installations. 40 groups of works will be featured in this major exhibition. This offers a complex read of Weems in her over 35 years of artistic practice. An immersive spatial setting is being developed specifically for the exhibition; this follows the artists’ goals to expand the practice of photography and how it is conventionally presented.


Carrie Mae Weems is a contemporary artist known for photographic works which explore stereotypes and subjectivity. Her works take into account narrative as well as folklore, spoken and written history, and contemporary African American life. Beyond photography, her works also involve video, performance, and installation as well as public pieces based on collaboration. The Black body – its strength, beauty, and vulnerability – is the central theme of Carrie Mae Weems’ work.


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Untitled (Woman and daughter with makeup) from Kitchen Table Series, 1990, Carrie Mae Weems
Source: m-kitchen-table-series-1


A major concern of this exhibition and her works in general is the appropriation of dominant historical narratives as they are created by monuments, architecture, art, language, or mass media, especially photography. The artist is particularly interested in what is being withheld by the focus on dominant narratives. A history of violence is counteracted by histories of

resistance, in which the Black body, rituals, and spirituality take a central role. Weems offers imaginations of possible other pathways of both the past and the future.


In this upcoming extensive exhibition at Württembergischer Kunstverein, Weems’ works specifically interrogate photography as a medium. This is a topic which she has long been interested in, and shows that she not only deals with the repressions perpetrated through photography, but also with the possibilities of deconstructing this violence through the medium itself, with its potentials for self-empowerment. This can be seen by Weems sitting as the primary subject in so many of her works; not in an autobiographical manner but as a reflection of the subjectivities of every woman, going beyond socioeconomic status, racial background, and time.


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Project Row Houses (from "The "Museum Series"), 2006–present, Carrie Mae Weems



In several photographic and video projects, Weems engages with recent structural racist police violence against Black bodies. In these videos, topics of escape, mourning, remembrance, and protest are underlined and focused on, so as to purposefully avoid forgetting the tragedies that underlie such violence. This intersection of politics, social awareness, and analysis is typical of Weems’ oeuvre.


Along with her well-known works such as The Kitchen Table Series (1990) or From Here I Saw What Happened and I Cried (1995–1996), the artist will use this exhibition as an opportunity to release her newly produced photo series Monuments. So far this only existed in the form of a booklet, and deals with hegemonic colonialist implications of public commemoration. This ties into conversations which are relevant and topical at this precise moment and refers to one of the main aspects of the exhibition.


Racism and sexism, power and aesthetics, and personal history and archival past all come together in Weems’ works. African American history is a central theme, and the depiction of Black bodies from the past to present are interrogated. Her photography and video allow a new look to traditional historical narrative. This exhibition allows a unique opportunity to delve into her portfolio, analyzing each of these aspects.


The Evidence of Things Not Seen is organized by Württembergischer Kunstverein in collaboration with Fundación Mapfre. More information about the exhibition, including information for ticketing closer to the event can be found at the following website:

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