From Black and White to Living Color: The Collected Motion Pictures and Accompanying Documents of Kara E. Walker, Artist.
October 4–December 21, 2019
Monika Sprüth and Philomene Magers are honoured to present the first retrospective of Kara Walker’s video works at Sprüth Magers London. Film has long played a crucial role in Kara Walker’s groundbreaking artistic practice. Eight of Walker’s films highlight her diverse approach to filmmaking, signature use of silhouettes, and insightful handling of space, sound and time to expose profound and enduring historical traumas and narratives. The exhibition will also include an array of artefacts that shed light on Walker’s process as she conceives of and composes her films. Shot lists, handwritten notes, cut-and-pasted lines of text, sketches and puppets are interspersed with the artist’s moving images, deepening our understanding of her films and her expansive practice of unforgettable work across mediums.
The concept of the exhibition has been formulated for many years by Hilton Als, who himself has known Walker for several years. The exhibition moves from the earliest film, from 2004, entitled Testimony: Narrative of a Negress Burdened by Good Intentions, to later works such as Fall Frum Grace, Miss Pipi’s Blue Tale, 2011. Walker’s film works develop her early cut-paper series into short videos that evolve the paper silhouettes into small hand-operated puppets. After initially experimenting with shadow projections overlaid onto her cut-paper works, Walker’s use of puppets developed from reading German books on shadow puppet theatre and studying the work of animator Lotte Reiniger, whose early cartoon films preceded those of Walt Disney.