Otobong Nkanga work has been chosen by the curators Hans Ulrich Obrist and Klaus Biesenbach to participate in the Live Art exhibition 14 Rooms, which ran concurrently to this year’s Art Basel art fair in Basel (Switzerland). For this show, Otobong Nkanga conceived the work Diaspore, a performance that consists of one to three women always carrying the plant Cestrum Nocturnum, also known as Queen of the Night. In constant dialogue with the plant, these women navigate through a topographical map on the floor. In this video, Otobong Nkanga speaks with Mirjam Baitsch (Fondation Beyeler) about the idea behind her work.
14 Rooms was presented by Fondation Beyeler, Art Basel, and Theater Basel. The curators Klaus Biesenbach and Hans Ulrich Obrist invited fourteen international artists to each activate a room, exploring the relationship between space, time, and physicality with an artwork whose “material” is the human being.
Otobong Nkanga: Diaspore, 2014. 14 Rooms Live Art Exhibition. Messe Basel, Basel (Switzerland), June 10, 2014.
More videos covering 14 Rooms coming soon.
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From the press text:
Since early 2000, Otobong Nkanga has been working in a variety of media including drawing, photography, installation, and performance art. She observes social and topographical changes in her environment, the complexities that are embedded in these experiences, and how such things as resources, soil, earth, and its potential worth are subjected to regional and cultural scrutiny. … Nkanga was born in Nigeria where she also began her art studies at the Obafemi Awolowo University in Ile-Ife, she continued at the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts, Paris and in 2008 obtained a Master’s Degree in Performing Arts from Dasarts, Amsterdam.
Video, extended version (16:42):