Untitled (400), 2019

Basel 2019
Lévy Gorvy, Sprüth Magers
The violent legacies of slavery in the United States remain deeply felt, 400 years after the first captive Africans were brought to the British North American colonies and sold into enslavement. From police brutality to the mechanisms of the incarceration system, the country’s economic, social, legal, and political infrastructures remain entrenched. Senga Nengudi marks this anniversary with an abstract, room-spanning installation of diverse materials that invokes a sense of profound optimism in the viewer. Looking back to the media that define her oeuvre, Nengudi has created an installation comprised of elements of nylon, referring to her celebrated ‘R.S.V.P.’ series, and masking tape, in reference to her 1978 performance Masking It, where the artist peeled pieces of masking tape from her body. Reflecting on agency, migration, violence, and creation, Nengudi’s work offers us an image of ecstatic survival.