Thursday, January 10, 2008

wangechi mutu: contemporary collage: recycled sources

An amazing female artist, Wangechi Mutu creates elaborate figurative collages. Mutu's aesthetic myth making compiles collage sources such as medical diagrams, fashion magazines, anthropology and botany texts, pornography, and traditional African arts applying further depth with acrylic paint and ink. Her newer works are a series of large-scale collage works on Mylar polyester film and x-ray paper. Often fraught with dark and confrontational themes these new works 'Y.O.N.I' (the sanskrit word for divine passage), have renewed optimism and positive energy, namely female creativity and sexual organ focus. Her placement of letter for Yo· n· I --as "you and I", denoting a sense of unity and belonging. Meshed into the collages are tropical flowers and desert plants, female deities, fertility symbols

In Yo· n· I she further explores this idea in a site-specific water installation that draws water from the canal outside the gallery and poignantly explores the movement and relationship between what is found outside and what is within. The artist explains "Whether this notion applies to geographical boundaries, the separation of mind and body, the cultivated and the natural - this is indeed the fundamental tension between that which is considered real and that which is considered abstract and magical".

The artwork shown is entitled, "A dragon kiss always ends in ashes", (ink, paint, mixed media, plant material and plastic pearls on Mylar). More of her work can be seen at Victoria Miro Gallery and Saatchi Gallery. I am fond of the Surreal and Dadaist reminiscent work called Cancer of the Uterus too.

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