December 13, 2016

Exhibition: Kapwani Kiwanga: The sum and its parts
Location: Logan Center Gallery, 915 E 60th Street, Chicago, IL 60637
Dates: January 20–March 12, 2017
Opening Reception and Artist Talk: Friday, January 20, 2017, 6pm
Gallery Hours: Tue–Sat, 9am–9pm; Sun, 11am–9pm
Admission: Free

(Chicago, IL, December 7, 2016) Logan Center Exhibitions will present a selection of newly commissioned work by Kapwani Kiwanga in her first solo exhibition in the United States: Kapwani Kiwanga: The sum and its parts, on view at the Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts, January 20–March 12, 2017. The exhibition features a site-specific installation, video, and prints that draw on the artist’s research into the design of institutional spaces, including materials found in the University of Chicago’s Special Collections Library.  

Across the elements of Kapwani Kiwanga: The sum and its parts, Kiwanga deconstructs the physical and psychological qualities of different built environments including schools, prisons, hospitals, and mental health facilities. In the main gallery, Kiwanga brings together architectural elements from historical and contemporary versions of these spaces including wall sections, lighting fixtures, and surface treatments creating a spatial collage that escapes the sum of its fragments. For these works, Kiwanga has drawn from her extensive research into disciplinary architectures throughout time, extracting specific details from the designs of late 19th century workhouses and reformatory schools in Britain and France respectively.  

“Kiwanga’s installation transforms the Logan Center Gallery into an experiential space that is guided by the artist’s astute architectural interventions,” said Yesomi Umolu, Exhibitions Curator at the Reva and David Logan Center, and curator of the exhibition, “With this, Kiwanga underscores the built environment’s function as a mechanism for regulating human behavior. This allows visitors to consider the mental and physical effects of the various spaces that they occupy daily.”  

A distinctive feature of the exhibition is the artist’s transposition of two-tone color palettes, often used in the interiors of institutional spaces, onto the gallery walls. Social hygiene movements and hospital reforms at the turn of the 20th century inform the artist’s selection of colors as well as the work of Chicago-born color consultant and color theorist Faber Birren. A student in the College at UChicago in the early 1920’s, Birren later established a consulting company, advising on the use of color in industry and the workplace. Drawing from color design studies by Faber Birren and Company held at the University of Chicago’s Special Collections Library, Kiwanga thereby recalls the application of color theory to the conditions of work, learning, surveillance, healing, and care. Also on view is a selection of prints that reproduce images from Birren’s archive and a new film A primer that delves deeper into the spatial histories of different building typologies.  

Born in Hamilton, Canada and based in Paris, Kiwanga produces works across installation, performance, and video that marry her training in anthropology and comparative religions with her interests in history, memory, and mythology. Presenting rigorous research in imaginative ways, Kiwanga intentionally confuses truth and fiction in her work in order to enable fantastical narratives. The new commissioned film A primer is co-produced by Logan Center Exhibitions, University of Chicago and The Power Plant, Toronto.   

Kapwani Kiwanga: The sum and its parts is presented by Logan Center Exhibitions and curated by Yesomi Umolu, Exhibitions Curator. Major support is provided by Etant Donnés Contemporary Art, a program of FACE Foundation, developed in partnership with the Cultural Services of the French Embassy in the United States, with lead funding from the Florence Gould Foundation, the Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, the French Ministry of Culture and Communication and Institut Français-Paris. Additional support from the France Chicago Center at the University of Chicago.  

The exhibition will be on view January 20 until March 12, 2017 at Logan Center Gallery, located at the University of Chicago’s Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts, 915 E 60th St, Chicago, IL 60637. Exhibitions are always free and open to the public. For more information and related programming, visit and follow Logan Center Exhibitions on Facebook and Instagram. 

Opening Reception and Artist Talk 
January 20, 2017, 6pm

Logan Center Gallery | 915 E 60th St

Please join us for an in-gallery talk with artist Kapwani Kiwanga followed by a reception celebrating the opening of Kapwani Kiwanga: The sum and its parts.

Kapwani Kiwanga (b. 1978) studied Anthropology and Comparative Religions at McGill University, Canada. Kiwanga was the 2016 Commissioned Artist at the Armory Show, New York and recently presented her work in solo exhibitions at The Powerplant, Toronto; La Ferme de Buisson, Noisiel; South London Gallery, London; and the Jeu de Paume, Paris. Recent group exhibitions include EVA biennial, Limerick; Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin; SALT, Istanbul; and the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Castilla y Léon. She has been artist-in-residence at L’Ecole National Supérieure des Beaux-Arts, Paris; Le Fresnoy: National Contemporary Art Studio, Tourcoing; MU Foundation, Eindhoven; and Le Manège, Dakar. Kiwanga lives and works in Paris, and she is represented by Galerie Poggi, Paris and Galerie Tanja Wagner, Berlin.


Yesomi Umolu is Exhibitions Curator at the Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts at the University of Chicago, where she is also a lecturer in the humanities division. Specializing in global contemporary art and spatial practices, Umolu recently curated So-called Utopias (2015) at the Logan Center Gallery. Prior to joining the Logan, Umolu was Assistant Curator at the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum at MSU where she curated Material Effects: Contemporary Art from West Africa and the Diaspora (2015-6), John Akomfrah: Imaginary Possessions (2014) and The Land Grant: Forest Law (2014) with Ursula Biemann and Paulo Tavares. Umolu was previously Curatorial Fellow for Visual Arts at the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis where she curated The Museum of Non Participation: The New Deal (2013) featuring works by Karen Mirza and Brad Butler. Umolu has held curatorial positions at the 8th edition of the European biennial for contemporary art Manifesta and the Serpentine Gallery, London. Her writing has appeared in numerous catalogues and journals, including Art in America, Afterimage: The Journal of Media Arts and Cultural Criticism and the Studio Museum in Harlem’s Studio magazine. Umolu received an MA with honors in Architectural Design from the University of Edinburgh and an MA with Distinction in Curating Contemporary Art from the Royal College of Art, London. She is a 2016 recipient of an Andy Warhol Foundation Curatorial Fellowship.  


Logan Center Exhibitions presents international contemporary art programming at the Logan Center Gallery and throughout the Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts at the University of Chicago. Reflecting the sprit of inquiry at the university, Logan Center Exhibitions focuses on open, collaborative and process-based approaches to cultural production. Working closely with artists, students, scholars and community members, Logan Center Exhibitions presents innovative exhibitions by emerging and established artists; supports ambitious new commissions and research projects; disseminates knowledge through publications; and facilitates connections through talks and other public programs.

Ronia Holmes
University of Chicago
Interim Associate Director of Communications