Carrie Mae Weems. The Evidence of Things Not Seen

The Glenstone #1, 2018 © Carrie Mae Weems. Courtesy of the artist, Jack Shainman Gallery, New York

April 2–July 10, 2022
Opening: Friday, April 1, 2022, 7 p.m.
Opening program: April 2+3, 2022

Württembergischer Kunstverein is pleased to present The Evidence of Things Not Seen, the first comprehensive solo exhibition of the US artist Carrie Mae Weems in Germany.

Featuring around 40 bodies of work, including extensive photographic projects, videos, objects and installations, the exhibition offers a complex reading of Weems' oeuvre in over more than 35 years elaborated artistic practice. An immersive spatial setting is being developed specifically for the exhibition that follows Weems’ wide-ranging approaches to expand photography and its conventions of presentation. The title is borrowed from the eponymous book by writer James Baldwin.

Newly produced, the photo series Monuments—which to date only existed in the form of a booklet—deals with the hegemonic colonialist implications of public commemoration, tying in highly topical discourses, and referring to one of the main aspects of the exhibition.

A major concern of The Evidence of Things Not Seen is the interrogation and appropriation of dominant historical narratives as they are generated by monuments, architecture, art, language, or mass media, especially photography, and the excavation and unfolding of what these narratives repress. The history of violence is counter-read by histories of resistance, in which the body, beauty, rituals, and spirituality take a central role. In doing so, Weems releases imaginations of possible other trajectories of the past and thus of the future. For it is the future that Weems addresses in her constant critical interrogations of history.

Since the beginning of her engagement with photography in the late 1970s—marked by the examination of a wide spectrum of artists ranging from Robert Frank to Roy DeCarava—Carrie Mae Weems has been deeply concerned with the limits of photography and the expansion of its canon, including the excluded and the forgotten.

Furthermore, she investigates how photography as well as other forms of representation produce constructions of race, gender, and class. In the extensive exhibition, Weems’ works show that she not only deals with the objectification perpetrated through photography, but also with the possibilities of deconstructing this objectification through the medium of photography itself and with its potentials for self-empowerment.

In several photographic and video projects, Weems engages with recent structural racist police violence against African Americans in the United States. In these works, topics of escape, mourning, remembrance, and protest are woven into poetic manifestos against forgetting.

The exploration of landscapes and the traces of diaspora inscribed therein, the relations between architecture and marginalized bodies, the ambiguity of popular cultures like carnival and vaudeville, as well as the poetic and political implication of voice and music are likewise important fields of reference in the exhibition. 

The Evidence of Things Not Seen is organized by Württembergischer Kunstverein in collaboration with Fundación Mapfre (Madrid, Barcelona) and generously supported by the Federal Cultural Foundation and the Baden-Württemberg Foundation.

Schlossplatz 2
D-70173 Stuttgart
Fon: +49 (0)711 - 22 33 70
Fax: +49 (0)711-22 33 791
Carrie Mae Weems
Württembergischer Kunstverein Stuttgart