Fred Wilson: Afro Kismet
May 15 - October 4, 2020
Gibbes Museum of Art, 135 Meeting St, Charleston SC 29401

Presented in partnership with Spoleto Festival USA, Afro Kismet features internationally acclaimed artist Fred Wilson’s most recent body of work originally produced for the 15th Istanbul Biennial in the fall of 2017 and recently exhibited at Pace in London in the spring of 2018. A 1999 MacArthur Foundation “Genius” award winner, Wilson challenges assumptions of history, culture, race, and conventions of display.

In Afro Kismet, Wilson investigates the long-ignored presence of communities of African descent in Turkey. He reframes objects and cultural symbols to alter traditional interpretations of social and historical narratives. For example, an Iznik tile wall he created with large Arabic calligraphy translates to “Black is Beautiful.” A globe sculpture titled Trade Winds refers not to its original meaning related to weather patterns but to the tragic global trade in human beings. The juxtaposition of his work with artifacts from the 19th century not only questions notions of universal knowledge and truth, but also sheds light on histories not thoroughly examined.

Fred Wilson, Black is Beautiful, 2017, Iznik tiles, 9’2” x 19’2” x3/8”, AP 1 of 1, Edition of 3 + 1 AP, No. 67823.AP1, courtesy of Pace Gallery

Fred Wilson, Eclipse, 2017, Murano glass, clear blown glass, brass, steel, light bulbs, 78″ × 57″ × 57″, AP 1 of 2, Edition of 6 + 2 Aps, No. 67245.AP1, courtesy of Pace Gallery