Arts & Culture
Maxine Walker: Untitled
- 9:00 pm
30 August 2021
Midlands Art Centre | Free
Cannon Hill Park
Birmingham B12 9QH
After debuting at Autograph in London, the first exhibition of Maxine Walker’s work in more than 22 years is touring to Birmingham.
Untitled reintroduces a pioneering artist whose practice focused on representations of Black Womanhood, a poignant exploration of identity by a young artist at the height of her career. Active between 1985 – 1997, Walker used photography to interrogate the intricacies of skin, Blackness and being.
This exhibition is part of our ongoing commitment to curate and preserve the legacy of important practitioners such as Walker, and to ensure that her significant contribution to the cultural history of photography is recognised.
In her seminal series of self portraits Untitled (1997), Walker draws our attention to the features of her face in closely-cropped black and white photographs. The sequence of ten portraits share a charged visual journey as she seemingly peels away layers of her surface skin, conjuring a narrative that is more sinister than playful, intimating that her Blackness cannot – and must not – be stripped away. Magnifying the delicacy of her skin, we are invited to consider complex notions of beauty, masquerade, and vulnerability.
Material from Autograph’s archive will be exhibited, including the original contact sheets from Walker’s photo booth styled self portraits (1995). In these colour works, Walker transforms herself into a myriad of characters. Vintage artist prints from Black Beauty (1991) and The Bride (1989) will be on display, alongside the magazines Walker co-founded, edited and wrote for. Ephemera from her exhibitions across the UK chart the extent of her prolific career.
Maxine Walker: Untitled is based on Autograph’s 1997 publication of Walker’s work commissioned and edited by Mark Sealy, part of our now-rare series of monographs dedicated to Black photographic practice.
Curated by Renée Mussai and Bindi Vora.
The exhibition is open until 30 August 2021. More information here
Header Image: Maxine Walker, Untitled, 1997. Image courtesy of the artist and Autograph, London. Copyright: © Maxine Walker