Research-based, thematically highly topical, and future-oriented – these terms can be used to describe the impressive work of Kapwani Kiwanga (b. 1978). From September 16, 2023 to January 7, 2024, the Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg will present the first comprehensive mid-career retrospective of the Canadian and French artist, who has recently received numerous international awards. Kiwanga’s expansive works come together in the exhibition to create a unique aesthetic, insightful, and physical experience.
Kapwani Kiwanga understands to entice visually and to touch the viewer with the thematic content of her work. She uses the power of color, light, and material to narrate global histories from new perspectives. Delicate ornamental plants hold toxic power, colors unfold manipulative effects, and light is unmasked as a political instrument. As a graduate anthropologist and comparative religion scholar, she has the academic background for her socially analytic practice.
With her so-called exit strategies, Kapwani Kiwanga searches for a vocabulary to look at existing structures and power relations from a new angle and to think about them differently in the future. Her installations, paintings, sculptures, works on paper, and photographs, as well as her sound and video works and lecture performances, thus contain a historical-political dimension that only becomes apparent at second glance. Kiwanga breaks the visual pleasure of her works in terms of content, amplifying their effect and giving them a lasting impact. In doing so, she shakes the foundations of our cultural socialization. She refines our sense of “hidden” social mechanisms, structural injustices, as well as global and everyday power asymmetries. In a poetic way, Kapwani Kiwanga surveys and expands our social horizon.
The exhibition is accompanied by a comprehensive publication (German / English) with installation views of the exhibition, archival material, a conversation between Cecilia Alemani and Kapwani Kiwanga, and essays by Julie Pellegrin and Uta Ruhkamp.
Curator: Uta Ruhkamp. Curatorial Assistants: Dino Steinhof and Veronika Mehlhart.