Kara Walker. Fibbergibbet and Mumbo Jumbo: Kara E. Walker in Two Acts (installation view), 2004. Painted wood, paper, thread, coffee stained muslin, instant coffee stained canvas, metal armatures, Mylar, colored gels, light bulbs, motorized turn-tables, foamcore, video projectors, flashlights, record player, burlap, and linen. Dimensions variable. Photo credit: Aaron Igler. Kara Walker. Fibbergibbet and Mumbo Jumbo: Kara E. Walker in Two Acts (detail), 2004. Painted wood, paper, thread, coffee stained muslin, instant coffee stained canvas, metal armatures, Mylar, colored gels, light bulbs, motorized turn-tables, foamcore, video projectors, flashlights, record player, burlap, and linen. Dimensions variable. Photo credit: Aaron Igler. Kara Walker. Fibbergibbet and Mumbo Jumbo: Kara E. Walker in Two Acts (detail), 2004. Painted wood, paper, thread, coffee stained muslin, instant coffee stained canvas, metal armatures, Mylar, colored gels, light bulbs, motorized turn-tables, foamcore, video projectors, flashlights, record player, burlap, and linen. Dimensions variable. Photo credit: Aaron Igler. Kara Walker. Quicksand (Wise Negro Aphorisms) (detail), 2004. 51.75 x 103.5 inches. Charcoal and pastel on paper. Courtesy of the artist. Photo credit: Aaron Igler.
Kara Walker. Fibbergibbet and Mumbo Jumbo: Kara E. Walker in Two Acts (installation view), 2004. Painted wood, paper, thread, coffee stained muslin, instant coffee stained canvas, metal armatures, Mylar, colored gels, light bulbs, motorized turn-tables, foamcore, video projectors, flashlights, record player, burlap, and linen. Dimensions variable. Photo credit: Aaron Igler.
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Kara Walker. Fibbergibbet and Mumbo Jumbo: Kara E. Walker in Two Acts (detail), 2004. Painted wood, paper, thread, coffee stained muslin, instant coffee stained canvas, metal armatures, Mylar, colored gels, light bulbs, motorized turn-tables, foamcore, video projectors, flashlights, record player, burlap, and linen. Dimensions variable. Photo credit: Aaron Igler.
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Kara Walker. Fibbergibbet and Mumbo Jumbo: Kara E. Walker in Two Acts (detail), 2004. Painted wood, paper, thread, coffee stained muslin, instant coffee stained canvas, metal armatures, Mylar, colored gels, light bulbs, motorized turn-tables, foamcore, video projectors, flashlights, record player, burlap, and linen. Dimensions variable. Photo credit: Aaron Igler.
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Kara Walker. Quicksand (Wise Negro Aphorisms) (detail), 2004. 51.75 x 103.5 inches. Charcoal and pastel on paper. Courtesy of the artist. Photo credit: Aaron Igler.
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Kara Walker:

Fibbergibbet and Mumbo Jumbo

March 26, 2004–August 14, 2004

Performance and Reception:

Opening Reception and Special One Night Only Engagement by the Artist
Friday, March 26, 2004
5:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.

 


In keeping with the provocative installations of cut paper silhouettes for which she has become known, Walker continues to use the simplest of means to create vivid–if not shocking–images based on life in the Antebellum South. Fibbergibbet and Mumbo Jumbo combines the silhouettes with the artists' interest in painting, drawings and projections. In addition–for the first time in her career–Walker has incorporated video into the work.

The installation consists of a theatrical stage set made of a cloth backdrop on which a landscape has been painted in washes of coffee and pigment. Before the backdrop stands the painted wooden silhouettes of willow trees and a signpost, which bears a series of aphorisms which are either misleading or dead ends in their own right. From behind the backdrop, a fiery light casts the shadows of Walker's characters against the painted landscape as her narrative unfolds beneath a spirited moon. 

In the light of the full moon, we see the silhouette of a woman dancing the Charleston. Like many of Walker's images, the video image is both comical and immediately disarming. Walker's cut-paper and projected silhouettes form a dramatic, albeit fictitious, narrative that stems in part from a mix of nineteenth century slave stories, African American history and contemporary culture. Drawing from Victorian portraiture and decorative craft traditions, at first glance the silhouettes–of cut paper, cast shadow and now video–belie the volatile nature of Walker's narrative. As the viewer is drawn into the narrative they are left to infer who is doing what to whom and exactly what may be unfolding before them, thereby implicating the viewer in the process of acknowledging and "reading" the exaggerated, stereotypical racial and sexual characteristics that Walker bestows upon them.



Bio
American, born 1969. Lives and works in New York City.
Kara Walker was born in Stockton, California. Walker received her B.F.A from Atlanta College of Art, and her M.F.A in painting/printmaking from Rhode Island School of Design. Her numerous solo exhibitions include, recently, Kara Walker: Narratives of a Negress, The Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery at Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs (2003); Kara Walker, Slavery!, Slavery!, 25th International Bienal of Sao Paolo, Brazil (2002); Moving Pictures, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York (2002); and American Primitive, Brent Sikkema Gallery, New York (2001). Recent participation in group exhibitions includes Comic Release: Negotiating Identity for a New Generation, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh (2003); Life, Death, Love, Hate, Pleasure, Pain: Selected Works from the MCA Collection, Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago ( 2002-2003); Drawing Now: Eight Propositions, MoMA QNS, New York (2003); Telling Tales: Narrative Impulses in Recent Art, Tate Liverpool, U.K. (2002); and Form Follows Fiction, Castello di Rivoli Museo d'Arte Contemporanea, Rivoli, Italy (2002).