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New exhibitions for the autumn at Nottingham Contemporary


Nottingham Contemporary presents two solo exhibitions this autumn, by the London-based French artist Marguerite Humeau and the Antwerp-based Nigerian artist Otobong Nkanga. Both exhibitions speculate about different lifeforms – from plants and elephants to a “celestial choir” of 108 billion voices.

Marguerite Humeau has described herself as an “Indiana Jones in Google times.” Her exhibition, titled FOXP2, is a partnership between Nottingham Contemporary and the Palais de Tokyo in Paris, where it opened earlier this year. This ambitious project will be shown in two of our four galleries. Hovering somewhere between research and speculative fiction, Humeau has constructed what she calls a “biological showroom”. She tells stories about the origins of life and language, the development of consciousness and our possible future.

Prototypes of elephants have been developed via conversations with scientists and other specialists. They display different degrees of sentience as they are brought to life, even as they are engaged in a mourning ritual. There will be a bold re-enactment of the moment when a mutation of the FOXP2 gene, the title of the exhibition, led to a structural change in the human larynx, allowing our ancestors to develop language.

In our other two galleries, Otobong Nkanga examines land and the value of natural resources through her immersive installations, which include drawings, tapestries and sculptures.

She will present two site-specific installations, each occupying an entire gallery. A new commission will delve into the archeology of objects, through a constellation of deconstructed display cases, a large scale wall drawing and a two-part tapestry.

Nkanga will also create a new version of her work Taste of a Stone, which examines the use and feel of a stone, its physical and metaphorical meaning and our relationship to it, while also referring to the art of storytelling. Bringing the natural world into the gallery, the artist will create a landscape of boulders, pebbles, trees and other plants. This will create a landscape for contemplation and meditation. It will be inhabited by local storytellers, musicians and dancers, as well as visitors. All will be invited to share emotions, memories or moods.

Nkanga’s work activities and performance connect different media, including photography, drawing, painting, sculpture, installation and video. All the different works are thematically connected through architecture and landscape.

FOXP2 has been conceived by the Palais de Tokyo, where it opened in June 2016. The exhibition presented at Nottingham Contemporary is a collaboration between Nottingham Contemporary and the Palais de Tokyo. It has been supported by Fluxus, Devoteam and Tai Ping.

Otobong Nkanga’s exhibition is co-produced by Nottingham Contemporary and Kunsthal Aarhus.

The exhibitions run from 15 October 2016 to 15 January 2017
Preview: Friday 14 October from 6:30pm

Posted on 05 October 2016

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