GALLERY VISIT 1 / Camden Art Centre ; Kara Elizabeth Walker, Negress

Kara Walker ; contemporary African-American artists / dealing with racism, gender, sexuality, violence and identity


Camden Art Centre is in quite hidden place in residential area in west London. Compare to another galleries or museums in Central London or important traffic centres, the location of the gallery is not too great with less amount of people visiting on the way to somewhere or tourists. But, it doesn’t seem to be a big problem since most of audiences are local residents or family with a lot of students visiting from the school so there must be average amount of audiences visiting the gallery on a regular basis.

When it comes to the exhibition, her work was interesting dealing with various social issues such as racism, sexual abuse and violence but it message of the work was very limited since it was a story and historical issue that happened in the past in a certain time period. Audiences would less be engaged into her work since not many people realised the racism is something actually happening in the present and even this moment in the world.

While seeing her work I was especially interested in video which showed the historical event in a direct way. It was much stronger way to express her anger and sadness than paper craft works on the wall. But I thought the way she expressed the theme was away too much direct and realistic. Those kinds of work tend to be less attractive in modern society with groundbreaking technology, now we can produce the most realistic images or videos which even look more realistic than the real(as much realistic as we want)…so that the notion of art has been changed and many artists have been struggling to find a new form of art with a creative materials, tools and novel ideas.

I was wondering what the point of her reenacting the event by playing with paper dolls…. some how it was necessary to impress the audiences, to have their attention. To what extent can artists be subjective…? Doesn’t the method of them to express theme need to be explained every time? (For example, can I produce the work just for personal pleasure, without consideration; how the audiences, public would think about….?) Sensational art is often considered as a “Noise Marketing” and it is at the centre of the controversy in art world and it’s understandable that this artist shows some sensational images in the film or drawing to explain her theme but I am curious if she has considered if this is the best way to explain her theme or it is just that she liked cutting the paper and she was good at that so she took an advantage of it by producing work…