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Carrie Mae Weems

The Evidence of Things Not Seen

GEGENWART / 04.11.2023–17.03.2024 / Curator: Maja Wismer

In her current show entitled The Evidence of Things Not Seen at the Kunstmuseum Basel | Gegenwart, North American artist Carrie Mae Weems, born in 1953, asks us to join her in exploring blind spots in (contemporary) history. For some 40 years she has been probing prevailing historical accounts of events and exposing the ways in which these are constructed and projected in politics, science, art, the mass media, photography and architecture. By the purposeful tracking down of specific sites or by re-enacting select historical realities, she lays bare the narratives of marginalised groups, and thus, through her art, presents us with narratives as yet neglected by contemporary historiography. These gaps, to which the exhibition’s title alludes, emerge by way of dominant power structures, social segmentation in urban planning, or quite simply, through racism; whereby it is the latter issue that comprises the focus of Carrie Mae Weems’ comprehensive photographic projects, videos and installations. Yet she contrasts the long history of violence against people of colour with the no less lengthy history of resistance, and in doing so, analyses both aspects with acute insight.
In 2014, Carrie Mae Weems was the first black American artist to hold a retrospective at New York’s Guggenheim Museum. Weems’ work has long been well known beyond the art scene in the United States. High time, indeed, that this powerful, political oeuvre is also introduced to a broader public in Europe!

This exhibition is based on the exhibitions The Evidence of Things Not Seen, Württembergischer Kunstverein Stuttgart, April 02-August 21, 2022, and A Great Turn in The Possible, Fundación MAPFRE and Fundación Foto Colectania, Barcelona, October 05, 2022-January 15, 2023.