Theaster Gates

Stage floor, 2012


Safety Rail (from Huguenot House), wood, 2012

Safety rail (from Huguenot House), 2012



Fire Access Stairs, wood, felt, 2013

Fire Access Stairs, 2013



Hallway Vitrine for Mixing Paint, wood, glass, metal and light, 2013

Hallway Vitrine for Mixing Paint, 2013


Huguenot Railing and Floor, wood, 2013

Huguenot Railing and Floor, 2013


Migration Ricksgaw for Play and Donation, wood, wheels, 2013

Migration Ricksgaw for Play and Donation,  2013

Theaster Gates : Accumulated Affects of Migration

This exhibition marks an expansion on Gate’s Documenta 13 project in 2012, 12 Ballads for the Huguenot House, in which raw material from a house at 6901 S. Dorchester in Chicago’s Grand Crossing neighborhood was shipped to Kassel, Germany, and used to mend and partially repair a historic building known as the Huguenot House. The project resulted in a poetic exchange of community, music and architectural transformation. During its restoration the Huguenot House was home to carpenters and students, a core of whom originated from the artist’s native Chicago and traveled with the artist to Germany. As Gates and his team merged one historical building with the other, they formed both functional objects and aesthetic compositions with the materials that emerged from the repair. The resulting objects play tribute to the marriage of the two original structures they derived from as well as serve as ephemeral documentations of the performances and interventions that activated the Huguenot House while Gates and his team inhabited the building.

A major focus of Accumulated Affects of Migration lies on the objects which were part of these performances, such as the stage the performers used as well as Fire Access Stairs (2012), a row of stairs that served as sitting bleachers for viewers to projections of the 12 Ballads. As the original material from 6901 S. Dorchester was shipped abroad, repurposed, merged with the Huguenot House, engaged and activated, then shipped back to Chicago, it has transformed in relation to the many contexts it has been placed within, drawing focus on the affects history plays on material as well as how this material influences its surroundings.


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