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Saturday 23.04.2022

Carrie Mae Weems at Württembergischer Kunstverein Stuttgart

Carrie Mae Weems: Mahalia, from the Slow Fade to Black series, 2010, detail ©: Carrie Mae Weems, courtesy of the artist and Barbara Thumm Galerie, Berlin

Carrie Mae Weems. The Evidence of Things Not Seen
Württembergischer Kunstverein Stuttgart


April 2 - July 10, 2022 opening hours: Tue - Sun, 11 am - 6pm, Wed 11 am - 8 pm


+49 711 2233713

Württembergischer Kunstverein Stuttgart
Schlossplatz 2
70173 Stuttgart

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Carrie Mae Weems: The Evidence of Things Not Seen
April 2–July 10, 2022

The Evidence of Things Not Seen is the first comprehensive solo exhibition of the artist Carrie Mae Weems (b. 1953) in Germany. Weems is one of the most influential contemporary artists in the United States, whose aesthetic and political impact extends far beyond the art world. In 2014 she was the first African American artist to be given a retrospective at the Guggenheim Museum in New York.

With over thirty bodies of work, including extensive photographic projects, videos, objects, and installations, The Evidence of Things Not Seen offers a multi-layered look at Weems' artistic practice, which has been developing for more than thirty-five years. For the exhibition a spatial setting was designed together with the artist that follows the performative character of her practice.

Carrie Mae Weems' works concern themselves with the questioning and appropriation of dominant historical narratives, as generated and reproduced in (educational) institutions, science, art, architecture, monuments, photography, and other mass media. By seeking out and reenacting these narratives she uncovers the unheard and unseen histories of the marginalized groups within them. Weems, who appears in many of her works herself, leads us to these blind spots in person and invites us to explore them together.

The exhibition's focus is on the long history of violence against people of color, women, and the socially disadvantaged, which Weems counters with an equally long history of resistance. Body, beauty, ritual, magic, and spirituality, the public and private, the political and poetic are of central importance here. In this way she uncovers other possible courses of history – and thus also of the future.

The classroom as an instance for preserving a certain canon of knowledge and values and at the same time as a place and stage for the collective invention of new narratives is one of the leitmotifs of the exhibition.

Other fields of reference include the social division of the public space implemented through architecture and urban planning, the cultural traces of slavery, the ambivalence of popular cultures such as carnival and vaudeville, and the resistant dimensions of voice and music.

In addition to earlier works such as the photographic series From Here I Saw What Happened and I Cried (1995–96) or The Kitchen Table Series (1990), the exhibition also shows numerous more recent and new works in which, for example, Weems addresses forms of public remembrance and thus connects with current debates. On view for the first time in Stuttgart is a photographic work in which Weems deals with the Berlin Holocaust Memorial in a performative way.

A series of photographic and video projects take up the police violence against African Americans in the US, reaching from the 1960s till today. Motifs of flight, mourning, remembering, and protest are interwoven here into poetic manifestoes against forgetting.

The title of the exhibition was borrowed from the book of the same name by African American activist and writer James Baldwin. It was written against the backdrop of the murders of 30 black children and young people in Atlanta at the beginning of the 1980s and the ignorance of the authorities towards these acts.

The Evidence of Things not Seen is organized by Württembergischer Kunstverein in the context of a collaboration with Fundación MAPFRE and Fundación Foto Colectania. The exhibition is generously supported by the Kulturstiftung des Bundes and the Baden-Württemberg Stiftung.