Nkanga has developed a multifaceted artistic practice over the last decade, offering active proposals for considering some of the most urgent issues of the present time. She has made artworks about the relations between the natural landscape, labour, people and their exploitation. One of her central and ongoing concerns is with the world’s natural resources, particularly how the intensity of the stripping of minerals from the Earth is profoundly connected to the condition of capitalism. The exhibition Bruises and Lustre looks at both sides of this equation.
The notion of ‘bruising’ here describes someone or some place that is hurt or damaged. Concurrently, Nkanga is fascinated by the notion of what she describes as “shine”. For the artist, this word is for more than describing the glimmering surface qualities of minerals, it also suggests the desire to be seduced by consumer goods. The word ‘Glimmer’ is also the German name for the valuable mineral Mica, which is the material subject of her installation In Pursuit of Bling (2014). With this installation, Nkanga seeks to visualise the connections between squander and desire, a crucial factor in the complex networks of supply and demand that define the global economy.
Nkanga’s artworks, whether in drawing, performance, sculpture or any other media, are built around a more holistic understanding of place, time and thing, connecting fragments of histories, experiences and images. Alongside In Pursuit of Bling and another recent installation, Solid Maneuvers (2015), as well as a selection of recent drawings, the artist has created a new set of large-scale tapestries and a carpet especially for this exhibition. Together, these elements form the setting for a series of performances that Nkanga will organise throughout the duration of the exhibition.
Otobong Nkanga lives and works in Antwerp.
Exhibition curated by Nav Haq, curator at M HKA, on display from 16.10.2015 - 17.01.2016