Dominique White, When Disaster Strikes, 2023 / Detail
Dominique White: When Disaster Strikes
Dec 9, 2023 – Mar 10, 2024
Kunsthalle Münster
Münster, Germany

With When Disaster Strikes, Kunsthalle Münster is staging Dominique White’s first solo show in a German art institution and, consequently, will be presenting her work in Germany for the very first time. White’s sculptures are a play on memory and metamorphosis. In her unpredictable forms, the disappeared makes its entrance into the space in the Kunsthalle. Her sculptures function as materialisations of Blackness beyond its subjective boundaries, as beacons or containers of an ignored civilization.

Dominique White addresses Blackness in terms of both its conceptual and material implications. Her works function as abstract commemorative sculptures that appear as if they have been literally dredged from the sea, monuments to an underwater nation made up of a submerged, aquatically immured non-human entities. In her work, she has recourse to different legends that take place in the water and that have their foundations there. In the nowhere realm inhabited by the ghostly ruins of Black lives, more specifically in the abyss of the Atlantic, a living vocabulary exists that continually gives birth to fantastical creatures, myths and fictions that emerge from the unthinkable union of the unborn child of the enslaved and the shipwrecked.

The seemingly fragile works are imbued with an immediately palpable brutality. Her visual vernacular combines the imitation of an abandoned ship at sea with tattered sails, threadbare hand-woven nets, mangled anchors and battered buoys with raffia and cowrie shells that have been cast as if wrapped in a ghostly shroud of kaolin. Also, harpoons, decomposed by salt water, are recurring elements in her work. In the exclusively newly produced works for the exhibition at the Kunsthalle, Dominique White also takes up the motif of the crab cage and uses it as a more or less abstract form to salvage stories, that should no longer remain below sea level. At the same she refers to the crab cage as a trap that might pull ships into the abyss. Once they are drifting forgotten and invisible through the sea, they start to have a comparable indiscriminate effect as sea mines – a form of (accidental) self-destruction. An example of how the master’s tools could in fact dismantle the master’s house.

The vulnerability of Dominique White’s sculptures is uncompromising. As fragile entities, the sculptural bodies straddle states of preservation, decay and destruction. Ghosts among ghosts. It embodies the rejection of a future based on the violence of colonialism. White’s research is inspired by the sounds of Detroit techno, drawing primarily on Afrofuturist narratives as elaborated by DJ Stingray, Drexciya and Tygapaw. In her work, she imbricates theories of Black Subjectivity, Afropessimism and hydrarchy – the structure through which imperial governments assert their power on land by dominating the oceans – with the nautical myths of the Black Diaspora to create a term she defines as “shipwreck(ed)”. With the sea as the carrier of death, the starting point of her thinking is hopelessness. White draws attention to the devastation of Black life in a white world in which the oppression of Blackness is not a relic of the past.

  • Mikko Takkunen: Hong Kong
    Publication
    Kehrer Verlag
    International

    With his first photobook Hong Kong, The New York Times’ photo editor Mikko Takkunen captured one of the world’s greatest metropolises during a time of political uncertainty and the pandemic. As the city was still recovering from the aftermath of the anti-government protests of 2019, Takkunen began to concentrate on the purity of seeing and capturing the world anew. (more…)

  • Patrick Weldé: Freiheit
    Publication
    Goswell Road
    International

    On the occasion of our exhibition with Weldé at CFAlive Milan L’AMOUR TOUJOURS, we publish a new edition of the previously sold-out book that we produced with Weldé in 2017, FREIHEIT. All of the photographs in FREIHEIT were taken by Weldé on disposable cameras between 2011-2015. They show a tender side to the artist and his friend circle, and the purest form of trust. (more…)

  • Maria Sturm: You Don’t Look Native to Me
    Publication
    Void
    International

    In 2011, Maria Sturm began to photograph the lives of young people from the Lumbee Tribe around Pembroke, Robeson County, North Carolina. Through the process of documenting their lives, Sturm began to question her own understanding of what it means to be Native American. Her new book You Don’t Look Native to Me combines photographs with interviews and texts to preconceptions and show Native identity not as fixed, but evolving and redefining itself with each generation. (more…)