The celebrated American artist subverts traditional race and gender stereotypes in her inaugural show
Kara Walker explores the tensions of gender and race relations, playing on historical narratives to challenge accepted normalities and expose the brutal histories of colonialism and slavery. She engages in traditional decorative styles including silhouettes and cutouts to distill complex historical materials and prejudice, often subverting these dark concepts with an air of wry humour that in turn pokes fun at stereotypical presentations of different cultures.
In her first show at Victoria Miro Walker has made a new body of site-specific work, drawing inspiration from the southern American city of Atlanta, where she lived throughout her teenage years. The key focus is a large scale wallpaper piece made in collaboration with photographer and filmmaker Ari Marcopoulos. This enormous work references Stone Mountain, a park on the outskirts of the city that features a chequered history – once proclaimed the spiritual home of the Ku Klux Klan – featuring a partial granite carving of Confederate generals on horseback. The area has more recently been set up as a theme park with popular laser shows.
The exhibition also features Four Idioms on Negro Art, a series that addresses forms of misplaced interpretation and visualisation of so-called ‘low’ art.