“From the standpoint of daily life, however, there is one thing we do know: that we are here for the sake of each other - above all for those upon whose smile and well-being our own happiness depends, and also for the countless unknown souls with whose fate we are con- nected by a bond of sympathy. Many times a day I realize how much my own outer and inner life is built upon the labors of my fellow men, both living and dead, and how earnestly I must exert myself in order to give in return as much as I have received”.

Albert Einstein



Fondazione Mudima is pleased to present Whittaker’s first major exhibition in Italy for over 15 years.

David Kim Whittaker was born in Cornwall, England, in 1964. Most of Whittaker’s paintings are based around an interpretation of the human head and its metaphysical core. Whittaker’s portraits are ambiguous and appear non-specific, with an aim of re- presenting the universal alongside the personal. The works often juggle duel states of inner and outer calm and conflict – offering a glimpse of strength and fragility, the conscious and subconscious, the masculine and the feminine.

They are essentially 21st century human portraits - and could be read as utopian and / or dystopian. These universal states of conflict clearly identifiable in the works are ar- guably reinforced by Whittaker’s gender dysphoria, an intense experience where one’s physical body does not match his or her deep identity, and the personal struggle with a condition that he / she has learned to live with through the endeavour of expressing something bigger than oneself through painting. Something bigger where the smallness of oneself remains far from insignificant. 

“This turmoil”, as the critic David Rosenberg has written in his essay “ might have brought extreme psychological tension or inner conflict, but inside David Kim, there is enough empathy, enough acceptance and space for contradictions to express and resolve them- selves. Perhaps this is because: ‘I” is a landscape”.

‘Portrait for Human Presence’ is an exhibition of new works. It offers an overview of a number of key themes that feature in the artist’s pantheon of imagery. ‘ Journeys of Hope and Despair ’ illustrates an exodus, where hope is sustained and salvation is sought on the journey from Damascus. The monumental ‘Perpetual Sin’ triptychs illustrate man- kind in conflict, our primal urge to tear apart and destroy, where power and greed cast long shadows, the sacred is sacrificed and divinity is lost. And finally ‘The Feminine Oppressed’, a small series of works where we are urged to contemplate that boys and girls are not always born equal depending on where in the world they originate.

David Kim Whittaker 'A Portrait of Human Presence' at Fondazione Mudima, Milan
Curated by Joseph Clarke
6th June - 7th July 2017
Fondazione Mudima, Via Alessandro Tadino, 26, 20124 Milano, Italy
In association with Opera Gallery Worldwide 

The Foundazione Mudima has exhibtion space designed by Cy Twmbly and has held solo exhibitions by major artists including Jean-Michel Basquiat, Alberto Burri, Yoko Ono, Marcel Duchamp, Wolf Vostell, Nam June Paik, Joseph Beuys, Allan Kaprow, Imai, Arman, César, Piero Manzoni, Takako Saito, Kazuo Shiraga, Lee U Fan, Daniel Spoerri, Ben Vautier, Ben Patterson, Milan Knizak, Mimmo Paladino, Jaume Plensa, Kim Moon Suep, Michelangelo Pistoletto, Enrico Baj. There has also been a long collaboration between the foundation and musicians such as John Cage , Daniele Lombardi, La Monte Young and Giuseppe Chiari. In 1990 the foundation realized the exhibition "Ubi Fluxus ibi motus", with the help of the Venice Biennale, an event which was attended by fifty artists from around the world. 

The exhibition also marks the publication of David Kim Whittaker's 160 page monograph. The publication is fully illustrated and contains texts by Joseph Clarke, David Kim Whittaker and David Rosenberg