Announcing representation of Otobong Nkanga
7 March 2023
Lisson Gallery is proud to announce representation of Otobong Nkanga, one of the most recognised artists working internationally today. The artist will present a number of works for Lisson Gallery’s upcoming exhibition, ‘Matter as Actor,’ including a new tapestry alongside the renowned series, Solid Maneuvers, referencing excavation of resources and wounded landscapes, inspired by a tour of a railroad in Namibia. The show, curated by Lisson Gallery’s Greg Hilty, runs across 27 Bell Street & 67 Lisson Street from 3 May – 24 June. Her work also features in the Hayward Gallery’s major exhibition in response to the climate emergency, ‘Dear Earth: Art and Hope in a Time of Crisis’ (21 June - 3 September 2023), inspired by Nkanga’s suggestion that “caring is a form of resistance.” Her forthcoming survey show in Spain at IVAM, Institut Valencià d'Art Modern (13 July – 5 November 2023), includes a major new site-specific commission alongside historic work, and follows monographic shows staged over the past five years in France, South Africa, Norway, Italy, Belgium, Austria and the United States.
Nkanga’s work foregrounds ecological themes of relationality and becoming through a distilled poetics of entanglement. Her multidisciplinary practice examines the complex social, political, and material relationships between bodies, territories, minerals and the earth. Unsettling the divisions between minimal and conceptual or sensual and surreal approaches, the artist’s research-based practice constellates humans and landscapes, organic and non-organic matter, Global North and Global South economies. Through drawing, installation, performance, photography, textiles and sculpture, Nkanga creates pathways translating the natural world – its plants, herbs, minerals and living organisms – into networked, aggregated situations evoking memory, labour, home, care, ownership, emotion, touch and smell.
In addition to producing distinct and rigorously researched art objects, Nkanga has consistently broken new ground through her ambitious, long-term projects. Landversation, which toured four cities from 2014-20, puts the artist and visiting publics in dialogue with multiple local communities who have deep connections to the land; while The Carved to Flow Foundation, established in Akwa Ibom, Nigeria, on the occasion of a series of performances held at documenta 14 in 2017, is a platform dedicated to researching material cultures and fostering shared experimentation and exchange locally. These projects, and Nkanga’s practice more broadly, evidence a transhistorical and cross-cultural diversity of influences, pointing to the planetary scale of her artistic investigations. Reframing people and objects as compressed multitudes and as entities that come into being in relation to other entities, Nkanga deftly weaves insights from geology, botany, poetry and non-Western knowledge systems. Her works’ allusions to the reparative potentials of connectivity urgently gesture towards the possibility of more livable futures.
Nkanga is also represented by Lumen Travo Gallery (Amsterdam, Netherlands) and Galerie In Situ – Fabienne Leclerc (Paris, France).
Portrait of Otobong Nkanga © Otobong Nkanga, Photography by Wim van Dongen, Courtesy Lisson Gallery