Dominique White: Deadweight

2 July 2024 to 15 September 2024 Whitechapel Gallery

A person with curly hair sits in a workshop, wearing a dark jumpsuit. They are weaving or handling fibers among rusted metal structures. Sunlight filters into the space, illuminating their focused expression and highlighting the textures around them.
Dominique White in her studio in Todi, 2024, Photo: Zouhair Bellahmar

Winner of the ninth edition of the Max Mara Art Prize for Women.

Dominique White (b.1993, UK), winner of the ninth edition of the Max Mara Art Prize for Women, presents a new body of work, Deadweight.  A thought-provoking exploration of rebellion and Transformation, Deadweight  comprises four large-scale sculptural works which continue the artist’s interest in creating new worlds for ‘Blackness’ and fascination with the metaphoric potency and regenerative power of the sea.

The title Deadweight derives from a nautical term which collapses everything on a ship into a single unit which determines the ship’s ability to float and function as intended. White deliberately inverts this, offering disruption as opposed to stability – a reckoning with the tipping point of the ship to offer the possibility of emancipation through abolition.

The works combine force and fragility: undulating angular structures formed from metals manipulated into forms evocative of anchors, a ship’s hull, mammal carcasses or skeletons – lost or abandoned material forms that, through White’s treatment, become symbols of defiance. As part of the process, the sculptures were immersed in the Mediterranean Sea: both a physical and poetic gesture to explore the transformative effect of water on material objects. The resulting forms display the rust and oxidation of the metals, the fragmentation of organic elements, such as sisal, raffia and driftwood, as well as carrying the lingering scent of seawater.

The new commission weaves together concepts of Afrofuturism, Afro-pessimism and Hydrarchy – philosophies central to White’s research and artistic practice.Her work envisions an Afro future, located outside of traditional utopian science fiction, in an oceanic realm with the potential to offer fluid, rebellious realities, liberated from capitalist and colonial influence.

Deadweight was developed from White’s winning proposal for the ninth edition of the Max Mara Art Prize for Women and realised during a six-month residency organised by Collezione Maramotti.

Further Information: Dominique White: Deadweight - Whitechapel Gallery