Formal Analysis of Event Horizon

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Formal Analysis of Event Horizon

“Event Horizon” is a site-specific work by Kara Walker commissioned by the New School University that wraps around the walls in the staircase found in the lobby at Arnhold Hall. The piece was commissioned in 2005 and there are clear signs of student interaction with finger smudges along where the railing touches the wall. The piece is done with latex paint on wall using only black paint to create the shapes on the wall. The artist’s piece revolves around the ideas and stories that African slaves experienced during the time of their captivity, which the author achieves at a successful level with the use of movement in the painting. This use of movement expresses the emotions of both the slaves and their owners, inviting the viewer to understand the troubles the slaves experienced while under captivity. When you ascend or descend the stairs, you can feel the difference in thickness between the wall and the black latex paint making the concept of the mural more tangible. The work is composed of black silhouettes of humans with exaggerated features who are in the process of making an action. The setting of the piece is in a long ditch with grass on the top and a dirt tunnel that becomes a complex as it descends. On the left side of the stairs is a man striking or about to strike a person with a whip and the second person falling violently into the ditch with their limbs in twisted flailing positions. On the right side, the artists depicts a small African child dropping a small ball like object into the winding tunnel where several larger African adults are either trying to climb out of the tunnel, struggle to not fall deeper, or have begun to settle in their ditches. The tunnel walls are made to look very organic and appear unrealistic with curved vertices and corners that stick out providing ledges where the figures are leaning or sitting on. In this collection of tunnels, one female with a large brimmed hat and rolled up pants...
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