ATLANTA - “IngridMwangiRobertHutter: Constant Triumph” on view at Spelman College Museum of Fine Art from Feb. 4 to May 14, 2011, features 13 works by the Kenyan-German artists IngridMwangiRobertHutter. It is the first exhibition in the United States to feature an extensive range of their art. Ingrid Mwangi, born in Nairobi of Kenyan and German parentage, and Robert Hutter, a German native, explore the notion of race, gender, and cultural heritage through photography, performance, video, and installation. In 2005, after working together for several years and marrying, Mwangi and Hutter merged their names and biographies, began working as one artistic identity, and formed the collective IngridMwangiRobertHutter. They declared that all of their work — new objects as well as previously completed ones — would be attributed to their collective.
IngridMwangiRobertHutter creates engaging, provocative, physically demanding, and at times, unsettling works. “I continue to be compelled by IngridMwangiRobertHutter’s innovation, commitment to consistently pushing the boundaries of their practice, and the engaging ways that they use the shared body as a canvas to examine the human condition. Quite simply, they expand definitions of contemporary art,” said Andrea Barnwell Brownlee, Ph.D., director of the Spelman College Museum of Fine Art and curator of the exhibition. “As the Museum builds upon its history of presenting contemporary exhibitions that provoke thought and considers the ways that artists examine socially relevant topics including self and other, trauma, war, injustice, and the significance of global understanding, this exhibition is both pertinent and timely.”
IngridMwangiRobertHutter’s work has been featured in solo exhibitions in Belgium, Egypt, Italy, Germany, Japan, Kenya, Tanzania, and the United States. It has also been included in important group exhibitions including “Africa Remix: Contemporary Art of a Continent” (2004), “DAK'ART Biennale of African Contemporary Art” (2006), “Global Feminism” (2007), and “Rebelle: Art and Feminism 1969-2009” (2009).
This season, the Museum of Fine Art presents exhibitions that examine the theme of shared authorship and artistic partnerships. In its previous exhibition, “Evenly Yoked: Bradley McCallum & Jacqueline Tarry” (fall 2010) artists McCallum and Tarry examined the complex history of race relations in the United States. IngridMwangiRobertHutter through their autobiographical inquiries and meaningful probing, expand this conversation and introduce socially relevant topics that affect people in various communities throughout the world.
“IngridMwangiRobertHutter: Constant Triumph” positions the 2008 video “Constant Triumph,” which was inspired by Mwangi’s sister’s courageous battle with breast cancer, within a larger framework of personal history, private journeys, the limits of the body, and life-altering quests. It questions and explores how to realize common realities, overcome cultural and social discrimination, avoid violent conflicts, and explore the fragility of the human existence.
The forthcoming exhibition catalogue (available April 2011) includes contributions by Brownlee and New York-based art historian, curator, and critic Isolde Brielmaier, Ph.D. Exhibition-related programs, including the catalogue, were made possible by support from the Spelman College Office of the President and the generosity of an anonymous donor. Major support for “IngridMwangiRobertHutter: Constant Triumph” was provided by the Fulton County Board of Commissioners under the guidance of the Fulton County Arts Council.
PERFORMANCE AND OPENING RECEPTION
Experience the United States debut of the 2010 performance of “Copper-Coloured Gold” and meet the artists at the opening reception in celebration of “IngridMwangiRobertHutter: Constant Triumph” on Friday, Feb. 4, 2011, from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. The performance begins at 7 p.m.
Artist Ingrid Mwangi, the daughter of a Kenyan father and German mother, moved from Nairobi to Germany as a teenager. From the early stages of her career, her experience living on two continents and her African-European heritage shaped her media and performance work, which is principally concerned with identity and social conventions. Robert Hutter completed studies in sculpture and painting at Freie Hochschule für Musische und Bildende Künste –Alanus Hochschule in Bonn/Alfter, Germany. Through his multi-media works he examined the broad topic of social justice.
They declared that they were born in the joint city of NairobiLudwigshafen in 1970 (the average of their birth years). For more than a decade, this double-bodied artist, by sharing ideas to realize a shared complex vision, has created emotionally-charged photographs, videos, installations, and performances that create a sense of urgency and enhance viewers’ intellectual and perceptive understandings. They are informed by the belief that general discussions about the causes of violence, injustice, war, racism, and other widespread crisis are superficial. Instead, through their work they investigate human nature and the conditions that chronically encourage unjust outcomes. For more information about their work.
About the Spelman College Museum of Fine Art
The Spelman College Museum of Fine Art is the only museum in the nation that focuses on art by and about women of the African Diaspora. Since it was established in 1996, the Museum has organized several contemporary art exhibitions such as “iona rozeal brown: a³. . .black on both sides” (2004), “María Magdalena Campos-Pons: Dreaming of an Island” (2007), “Cinema Remixed & Reloaded: Black Women Artists and the Moving Image Since 1970” (2007), and “Undercover: Performing and Transforming Black Female Identities” (2009) that have garnered critical and popular attention. Like the aforementioned projects, “IngridMwangiRobertHutter: Constant Triumph” promises to build upon the Museum’s impressive track record of organizing first-rate, mission-specific exhibitions that expand the contemporary art offerings in Atlanta and the region exponentially. For more information, visit www.spelman.edu/museum.
About Spelman College
Founded in 1881, Spelman College is a prestigious, highly selective, liberal arts college that prepares women to change the world. Located in Atlanta, Ga., this historically black college boasts a 79 percent graduation rate, and outstanding alumnae such as Children's Defense Fund Founder Marian Wright Edelman; former U.S. Foreign Service Director General Ruth Davis, authors Tina McElroy Ansa and Pearl Cleage; and actress LaTanya Richardson. More than 83 percent of the full-time faculty members have Ph.D.s or other terminal degrees, and the average faculty to student ratio is 12:1. More than 2,100 students attend Spelman.