Over a decade ago, the contemporary artist Mwangi Hutter, comprising Ingrid Mwangi and Robert Hutter, merged names and biographies to become one artist, despite differences of gender, race, age, and cultural backgrounds. Based in Berlin and Ludwigshafen, Germany, and Nairobi, Kenya, the couple function like many global artists today working across continents, exhibiting their work in a wide range of geographic locations. The transition from being two separate artists to one has enabled Mwangi Hutter to push the boundaries of what it means to work collaboratively, what it means to be a two-bodied artist in today’s culture. Mwangi Hutter’s persona also innately interrogates prefixed notions of Africanness and Europeanness, as well as the construct of the insider versus outsider. From a historical and political standpoint, their fused identity confers new status on Ingrid Mwangi’s earlier solo work, which often explicitly addressed topics of entrenched racism and the lingering legacy of colonialist discourses in Germany and modern Europe. The earlier work, now labeled as Mwangi Hutter, is redefined and provides a multidimensional social platform from which to investigate notions of self, external perception, and existence. This article examines the political and poetic implications of Mwangi Hutter’s one artist/two body construct as well as the recent solo exhibition Mwangi Hutter: Time Zone and Equinox, which the author guest-curated for the Sheppard Contemporary Gallery at the University of Nevada, Reno, March 15–May 10, 2018.
Research Article| May 01 2019
The Politics and Poetics of Mwangi Hutter’s One Artist/Two Body Construct
Nka (2019) 2019 (44): 108–119.
Brett M. Van Hoesen; The Politics and Poetics of Mwangi Hutter’s One Artist/Two Body Construct. Nka 1 May 2019; 2019 (44): 108–119. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/10757163-7547490
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