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Kara Walker American

Not on view

This impression of a face was taken directly from a reproduction of Why Born Enslaved! Walker designed the work to be displayed on the ground in a corner like a discard, lit by a single ambient light. The plaster mold both traces and displaces Carpeaux’s bust, reinterpreting it as a hollow shell and haunting effigy. Its illumination dematerializes the sculptural surface, creating pools of light and shadow that form a ghostly presence. Like Walker’s famous paper-cut silhouettes, this work uses negative space to evoke the wounds of history. Speaking about her art’s relationship to the past, Walker has stated: "I’m not making work about reality; I’m making work about images. I’m making work about fictions that have been handed down to me."

Negress, Kara Walker (American, born Stockton, California, 1969), Plaster, American

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