Kara Walker – A black hole is everything a star wishes to be. The Kunstmuseum in Basel presents the first major exhibition of the black American artist Kara Walker (1969) in Switzerland, with more than six hundred works on paper from her personal archive that have never been exhibited to the public.
These works, which date back to the past twenty-eight years, are featured alongside previously unpublished drawings that address contemporary concerns such as the legacy of Barack Obama. From June 5 to September 26, 2021.
The artist rose to fame in the mid-1990s with wall-sized silhouettes. In the winter of 2019/2020, he made headlines with his monumental sculpture Fons Americanus at London’s Tate Modern.
Kara Walker – A black hole is everything a star wishes to be. However, drawing on paper remains the foundation of Kara Walker’s creative practice. For the exhibition in Basel, he opens the doors to his jealously guarded private archive, allowing visitors an unprecedented insight into the creation of his art.
Small sketches, studies, collages, and meticulously finished large-format works appear alongside daily notes, typed reflections on index cards, and dream diaries. The graphic intimacy of each individual sheet contrasts with the impressive abundance of the works on display: as you zoom in and out,
Compared to the elegant panoramic silhouettes, the drawings have an air of spontaneity and unfiltered emotion. Many of them were executed with the brush, which gives them a fluid and open dynamic. Analyzing her own identity – as an artist, as a black woman, as a mother – Walker investigates both her personal dimension and her social implications in the context of current events.
This latter aspect is highlighted in four sensational role portraits he created for the exhibition that reflect on the presidency and the legacy of Barack Obama. The presentation also includes the 38-part work The Gross Clinician Presents: Pater Gravidam, an introspective examination of issues around inspiration and creativity,