Temple Bar Gallery + Studios is pleased to present the first solo exhibition in Ireland by Otobong Nkanga. The Breath From Fertile Grounds is an installation of entirely new work emerging from a research visit to Dublin and from research carried out within the BAK Fellowship Program. Otobong Nkanga is a 2017/2018 Fellow at BAK, basis voor actuele kunst, Utrecht. Nkanga’s interests in architecture and the body, in landscapes, organic growth and exchanges are carefully combined in her different projects. This exhibition has been conceived as a “space of remains and revitalisation”.
A collage of elements spreads across the gallery, along with a wall drawing and the sculptural “intersect” that binds the two central pillars around a stone. The bog clashes with the metal and brick work of industry and disused urban waste to highlight resistance and mutualisation. Networked structures propose a constellation of thought in times of transformation and crisis. Twisting and contorting as forms of forced or natural adaptation are made manifest. Decaying fragments and revisited familiar city tropes combine with sprouting moss and lichen in a will for survival.
Printed on cotton cloth, written accompaniments by Doireann Ní Ghríofa and Otobong Nkanga open an invitation to different writers for the emergence of multiple narratives, timeframes and languages throughout the exhibition as shared experiences and fertile grounds.
Born in Kano in Nigeria, Otobong Nkanga lives and works in Antwerp in Belgium. Her first monograph was published this year: Otobong Nkanga. Luster and Lucre, edited by Clare Molloy, Philippe Pirotte, Fabian Schöneich (Portikus / Sternberg Press, 2017). Her work (a large tapestry entitled The Weight of Scars, 2015) was previously seen in Ireland at EVA International in Limerick: Still (the) Barbarians, curated by Koyo Kouoh in 2016. For documenta 14 in 2017, Nkanga launched a long-term project called Carved to Flow, in Athens and Kassel.
Temple Bar Gallery + Studios would like to thank Luke Gibbons, Doireann Ní Ghríofa, Niamh O'Malley, Lucy Jackson, David Delahunty, Guinness Storehouse, National Botanic Gardens, National Museum of Ireland, National College of Art and Design, Shaffrey Architects and Lullymore Heritage & Discovery Park in County Kildare for their riveting hospitality and engagement. TBG+S are also very grateful for the support of Flanders State of the Art.