Hank Willis Thomas: Evidence of Things Not Seen

Hank Willis Thomas: Evidence of Things Not Seen

Exhibition: February 24 - April 9, 2016

Borrowing its title from James Baldwin's 1985 essay on the Atlanta Child Murders of 1979-81, The Evidence of Things Not Seen, this solo exhibition amplifies notions of presence and absence, sound and silence, and visibility and invisibility in the work of Hank Willis Thomas. Through his installations, photography, videos, and media works, Hank Willis Thomas uses images and themes from advertising and pop-culture to expose their reinforcement of generalizations surrounding gender, race and ethnicity. In his legibly present, but audibly absent text-based works, 'voices' are disembodied or silent, but their narratives and images reveal a hauntingly voluble history of resistance. Similarly, where figures are visually present, words are absent, suggesting a tension between when, how, why, and who society enables to speak. Including recent installations that incorporate the literal echo of pioneers of racial equality—like Baldwin and Nelson Mandela—the artworks comprising the 'evidence' foreground the complexities of how visibility and invisibility are inexorably attached to identity. 

Film Series curated by Hank Willis Thomas

In connection to the exhibition, Hank Willis Thomas selected these films in homage to innovative and influential creators in the medium of film whose work supports social justice as well as explores contemporary notions of identity, race, history and a national legacy of resistance. In partnership with The Roxie Theater, Kadist presents a selection of these films to be screened throughout the course of the exhibition's run.

Hank Willis Thomas, Black Righteous Space: South African Edition, 2014. Courtesy the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery.