Before moving to Colorado Springs where she lives until today, Nengudi was mostly based in Los Angeles. In the 1960s and 1970s, L.A. was the capital of an African-American artistic avant-garde with Nengudi as one of its pivotal figures. Her iconic R.S.V.P sculptures, exhibited for the first time in 1976, are made from pantyhose combined with natural materials such as sand and stone. While ostensibly abstract, their biomorphic forms suggest a body under tension, both physical and social. The artist herself describes the works as “stationary performances.”As the title of the growing series—R.S.V.P., short for “Répondez, s’il vous plait” or “Please reply”—implies, these works formulate an invitation and are occasionally activated during choreographed performances. Performance, as a solitary or collective act, in the privacy of the studio or out in public space, is at the core of Nengudi's practice—a fact that will be reflected by the exhibition. An illustrated catalog in English and German will be published.
Curated by Stephanie Weber