The Disjointed Self: Interrogating Interiority in the Collage Works of Romare Bearden and Wangechi Mutu
thesisposted on 2020-12-01, 00:00 authored by Liz Fahey
This thesis examines the collage works of modernist artist Romare Bearden and contemporary, postmodern artist Wangechi Mutu in order to examine a historical shift occurring between the mid-1960s and the early 2000s-2010s. Both artists are concerned with recontextualizing representations of black subjects, but while Bearden’s disjointed figures are grounded in reality in their placement within urban scenes, Mutu’s alien-human fusions are often depicted in extraterrestrial environments. Bearden’s modern black figures signal a reach for universality through the very particularity of the manner in which they have been constructed, whereas Mutu’s fierce glamazon goddesses abandon modernist selfhood for the shared language of critique, each seamlessly embodying a catalog of traumatizing subject positions. This project approaches both artists’ works through an analysis of existing scholarship and suggests new frameworks through which to consider their work.