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Dominique White: When Disaster Strikes – Kunsthalle Münster | 09.12.2023–10.03.2024

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With When Disaster Strikes, the Kunsthalle Münster is showing works by British artist Dominique White for the first time in Germany. White’s works play with memory and metamorphosis. In their unpredictable forms, the vanished finds its way into the rooms of the Kunsthalle. The sculptures represent the materialisation of black life beyond its subjective boundaries, as lighthouses or vessels of an ignored civilisation.

Fig. above: Dominique White, Zero Is My Country, 2021, courtesy Kunsthalle Münster.

Dominique White deals with blackness in its conceptual and material implications. Her works are abstract sculptures that look as if they have been taken from the Atlantic – monuments to an underwater nation made up of enslaved people who have sunk. In her work, the artist takes up various legends that take place in the depths of the water and have their roots there. In the nowhere below sea level, inhabited by the ghostly ruins of Black Lives, there exists a living vocabulary that gives birth to fantastic creatures, myths and fictions that emerge from the unthinkable union of the unborn child, the enslaved and the shipwrecked.

The seemingly fragile works are imbued with an immediately perceptible brutality. In her visual vocabulary, White combines the imitation of a shipwreck with destroyed sails, dilapidated hand-woven nets, ropes and tattered buoys wrapped in a ghostly kaolin shroud. Harpoons, which appear decomposed by salt water, are also recurring elements in her work. In the exclusively new works that she has produced for the exhibition at the Kunsthalle, Dominique White also takes up the motif of the fishing basket and uses it in an abstract form. With the help of the basket, she brings things to the surface, stories are salvaged and no longer remain below sea level. At the same time, it pulls ships into the abyss, forgotten lobster baskets drifting invisibly in the sea repeatedly become traps that are comparable to sea mines, have an indiscriminate effect and capsize ships.

The vulnerability of Dominique White’s sculptures is uncompromising. As fragile entities, the sculptural bodies balance between states of preservation, decay and destruction; ghosts among ghosts. The sculptures embody the rejection of a future based on the violence of colonialism. The artist conducts in-depth research for her works and is inspired by the sounds of Detroit techno. Above all, she refers to Afrofuturist narratives such as those portrayed by DJ Stingray, Drexciya and Tygapaw. The artist intertwines theories of Black Subjectivity, Afropessimism and ‘hydrarchy’ – the structure through which imperial governments assert their power over territories by dominating the oceans – with the nautical myths of the Black diaspora to create a concept she defines as “Shipwreck(ed)”. With the sea as the carrier of death, the starting point of her thinking is a hopelessness. White draws attention to the devastation of Black life in a white world where Black oppression is not a relic of the past. Even the undeniable successes of the Civil Rights Movement or Black Lives Matter could not fundamentally question this – a finding that contains a radical criticism of the slow progress of equality.

Curator: Merle Radtke

Dominique White (born 1993 in Great Britain) is a graduate of Goldsmiths University of London and Central Saint Martins. Her most recent exhibitions include include May you break free an outlove your enemy, La Casa Encendida, Madrid (2023); Statements, Art Basel, Basel (2022); Love, Bold Tendencies, London (2022); cinder’s of the Wreck/les cendres du naufrage, Triangle France, Marseille (2022); Techno Worlds, produced by the Goethe-Institut, Art Quarter Budapest (2021); Possédées, MO.CO, Montpellier (2020-21); Boundary + Gesture, Wysing Arts Centre, Cambridge (2019).

White is the winner of the 9th Max Mara Art Prize for Women (UK/IT) (2022-2024); CURA magazine has named her one of the most important female artists of our time.
In 2019, in conjunction with her solo exhibition at VEDA, Florence (2019) and received prizes from Artangel and the Henry Moore Foundation in 2020. In 2020 and 2021, White was a guest in Sagrada Mercancía (Santiago, Chile), Triangle France – Astérides (Marseille) and La Becque (La Tour-de-Peilz). White works nomadically.

Programme for the exhibition

8.12.2023, 6 pm, opening
10.12.2023, 3 pm, artist talk with Dominique White
17.12.2023, 3 pm, guided tour through the exhibition with Jolanda Saal
17.1.2024, 6 pm, Reading Group with Gesa Krebber (Prof. Kunstakademie Münster)
16.2.2024, 6 pm, guided tour of the exhibition with Jolanda Saal
10.3.2024, 3 pm, guided tour of the exhibition with curator Merle Radtke

Kunsthalle Münster
Hafenweg 28
5. Stock
48155 Münster

Saturday, 9 December 2023 until Sunday, 10 March 2024
Tuesday-Sunday 12-6 pm

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