The work of Senga Nengudi has been at the forefront of sculptural, performative, and photographic practices for over forty years. Using simple materials in innovative, unexpected ways, Nengudi’s compositions evoke a rich array of references, from subtle allusions to the body, to feminist considerations of space and movement, to the confluence of different cultural and religious rituals. With equal parts rigor and grace, they encourage us to rethink our relationship to the people and world around us. Monika Sprüth and Philomene Magers are honored to present an overview of Nengudi’s work at Sprüth Magers, London, which has evolved from the artist's recent exhibition at Henry Moore Institute, Leeds, and highlights the scope of her wide-ranging, influential oeuvre.
After studying art and dance in California and Japan, and receiving her master’s degree in sculpture from California State University, Los Angeles, Nengudi became a key participant in the young African American avant-garde in both Los Angeles and New York in the 1970s and 1980s, alongside artists such as David Hammons and Maren Hassinger. She developed early on her renowned sculptural series, R.S.V.P. (begun in 1975), which incorporates nylon stockings as well as every-day and industrial materials into supple, entwining sculptures that recall attenuated bodies, viscera and other organic matter. Though these have come to represent her work, at the same time they offer only one window into her diverse, multidisciplinary approach that likewise encompasses large-scale installations, performance photographs and videos, and objects combining plastics, liquid, pigments, and sand.