Senga Nengudi: In the Fabric of Time

Those doing ritual have the assurance of time.
Individual acts of art do not have to depend on permanence of the materials
Only the permanence of the soul.
World/Soul without in
I create a peace/piece
I wipe it out with my hands, my feet, my body.
It remains in the fabric of time threading through the millennia
Remembered and forgotten a thousand times over. Yet there.
Seen—not seen—experienced as part of the air.

– Senga Nengudi, 1993

For nearly half a century, Senga Nengudi made artworks that express attitudes, relationships, and entanglements. She creates a new kind of space that emphasizes the tension between material and action through time. The politics embedded in her practice intentionally disrupt the expected values and associations between an artwork, social relations, and place, and also between the individual and the collective. Drawing from historical rituals as well as contemporary encounters, her works boldly address the African diaspora, the body, and perceptions about Black identities in America.

Simply by being, that’s a political statement. So, whatever comes out of me has all those elements of me in it: I’m Black, I’m a woman, and at this point I’m a woman of a certain age. So simply by being, I am those things.

– Senga Nengudi, 2018

Senga Nengudi: Topologies is organized by the Lenbachhaus Munich, in cooperation with the DAM. Concept and idea by Stephanie Weber, Lenbachhaus. Funding is provided by the donors to the Annual Fund Leadership Campaign, and the residents who support the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District (SCFD). Promotional support is provided by 5280 Magazine and CBS4.