'Solid - Divide'. For this exhibition, the artist has distilled her exploration of glass beads into abstract, monochromatic and duo-coloured 'canvases' . 'Senga Nengudi: Alt'. This exhibition will include a selection ranging from the mid-1970's to newly produced works.
Solid / Divide
White Cube is pleased to present an exhibition of new works by Liza Lou. For this exhibition, Lou has distilled her exploration of glass beads into abstract, monochromatic and duo-coloured ‘canvases’ that explore the emotive potential of pure colour and the beauty of imperfection.
Lou’s process is demanding but, although slow and arduous, results in works that are both meditative and sublime. In 2005 she travelled to Durban, South Africa to initiate an art project with Zulu bead-workers which, starting with only 12 women from the surrounding townships of KwaZulu Natal, grew to include over 25 artisans. Lou’s commitment to this community of women, working in a collective studio environment, has led her to explore the subtle personal differences that emerge from the repetitive activity of weaving. Each canvas in the exhibition is comprised of beads stitched in an identical manner, yet each carries with it physical reminders of their slow making amidst the daily struggle of rural life. Ruptures, pock marks and streaks stain the surfaces. The ‘solid’ colour of these seductive surfaces becomes variegated, shifting with differing conditions of light, creating a tension between their sense of minimal order and timely, handmade imperfection. Evoking both minimal painting – in particular, colour field painting – and the unhindered patterning of natural materials, Lou's works seem to tonally vibrate, encouraging an embrace of their subtle shifts in register, as if viewing a horizon line at different times of day.
The ‘Solid/Divide’ canvases offer quiet and intense reflections on the pleasure of looking, rooted deeply in time and place and celebrate the complex beauty of their making. As with all of Lou’s sculpture, every inch of each canvas, including the painting’s sides and edges, are beaded, creating an insistent sense of object-hood, deftly eliding the line between sculpture and painting. They suggest a visual transformation, harnessing the power of humble materials to change something of substantial mass into fields of ethereal and translucent colour.
White Cube is pleased to present an exhibition of works by Senga Nengudi. Nengudi’s pioneering art, developed over a 40-year long career, seamlessly traverses the disciplines of visual arts, dance, and spirituality while at the same time, eloquently dealing with such powerful themes as race, gender and culture. This exhibition, Nengudi’s first ever solo presentation in the UK, will include a selection ranging from the mid-1970s to newly produced ‘Reverie’ works.
Nengudi first came to prominence in the 1970s when she was a Los Angeles-based artist affiliated with Studio Z. This radical group of African-American artists were distinguished by their experimental and improvisational practice, and included amongst them David Hammons and Maren Hassinger, with whom Nengudi frequently collaborated.
Nengudi’s output has always been wide-ranging, although she is perhaps best known for her sculptures and choreographed performances – sometimes merging the two together – which encouraged an active involvement on the part of the viewer. Her free-form, abstract and biomorphic ‘soft’ sculptures incorporated a variety of found materials (such as nylon mesh tights or ‘pantyhose’, everyday objects or masking tape) as well as natural materials like sand or rock. As part of this practice, in the mid-1970s she produced the ‘R.S.V.P.’ series; works that used nylon tights – a material associated with a gendered, female body – stretched, twisted and knotted and then filled with sand. Hung on the wall but stretching out three-dimensionally into the gallery space, the materiality of these sculptures suggests skin, breasts, or bodily organs and places an emphasis on the performative body through its palpable sense of tactility.
Nengudi’s performances, which incorporate sculptural objects with real bodies – either her own or those of others – are powerfully engaging. In R.S.V.P., performed with Maren Hassinger, Nengudi utilised movement to explore ‘feminist issues … a sense of body, how body issues related to self-esteem and self-acceptance … also entanglements – being entangled by my stuff and stretching oneself beyond your limits.’ While it can clearly be positioned in relation to both Minimalism and Feminism, Nengudi’s work resists any defined political or ethnic content, but rather, evokes the fragility and resilience of both mind and body.
Senga Nengudi was born in 1943 in Chicago. She studied in both Los Angeles and Japan, and currently lives and works in Colorado. Her work has been included in solo and group exhibitions internationally. Solo exhibitions include Senga Nengudi: The Material Body, MCA Denver and Senga Nengudi: The Performing Body, Redline Gallery, Denver (both 2014). Recent important group exhibitions include Blues for Smoke, Whitney Museum and MoCA, Los Angeles (2012-13); Radical Presence: Black Performance in Contemporary Art, Contemporary Art Museum, Houston (2012); Now Dig This – Art & Black Los Angeles 1960-1980, Hammer Museum, Los Angeles and MoMA PS1, New York (2011-12) and ‘Wack!: Art and the Feminist Revolution’, MoCA, Los Angeles (2007).
Opening: Preview: 25 November 2014, 6–8pm
White Cube Bermondsey
9 x 9 x 9 and North Galleries, Bermondsey, Inside the White Cube
South Galleries, Bermondsey
Tel +44 (0) 207 930 5373
Tuesday – Saturday 10am – 6pm
Sunday 12pm – 6pm