Lisson Gallery, which has locations in New York, London, Shanghai, and Beijing, now represents Otobong Nkanga, who has appeared in a range of major biennials over the past several years. She will have her first solo show at Lisson in 2024, and she will create a new tapestry for “Matter as Actor,” an upcoming group show at Lisson’s two London locations.
Nkanga will maintain her representation with her Amsterdam (Lumen Travo Gallery) and Paris (Galerie In Situ – Fabienne Leclerc) galleries, but is no longer represented by São Paulo–based gallery Mendes Wood DM, according to the Art Newspaper, which first reported the news.
A multidisciplinary artist working across tapestry, installation, photography, and more, Nkanga is known for a research-based practice that contemplates ecological concerns, their intersections with sociopolitical realities, and the unseen connections between them all.
In a 2021 feature in Art in America, Zoé Samudzi wrote, “Nkanga’s work consistently foregrounds African people and their position in the international supply chain, emphasizing the continent’s role as a vital point of extraction for raw materials, whether cacao or coltan (used in the manufacture of cellphones and other electronic devices). Devastating large-scale projects are an integral part of colonialism’s conquest of natural and human resources. The postcolonial economy is not so unlike the formal colonial one.
Samudzi continued, “Nkanga forces us to bear witness to these topographies of land and labor, to remember who creates (and suffers for) the everyday products and luxuries that we take for granted.”
Nkanga’s work has been widely exhibited around the world, including at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles, the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Denmark, Paris’s Centre Pompidou, and the Haus de Kunst in Munich. She has had major solo exhibitions at the Kunsthaus Bregenz in Austria, the Castello di Rivoli in Turin, Villa Arson in France, Gropius Bau in Berlin, and the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa in Cape Town.
Nkanga has featured in the 2019 Venice Biennale, Documenta 14 in 2017, the 2019 Sharjah Biennial, the 2015 Biennale of Lyon, the 2014 Berlin Biennale, and most recently the 2022 Busan Biennale, among others. In 2019, she was named the inaugural winner of the the Lise Wilhelmsen Art Award Programme, which comes with $100,000 and a solo exhibition at the Henie Onstad Kunstsenter Museum in Norway.
Nkanga is currently the subject of a solo show at the Frist Art Museum in Nashville that is part of the Tennessee Triennial for Contemporary Art, organized by artist María Magdalena Campos-Pons. In July, she will be the subject of a survey at the Institut Valencià d’Art Modern in Spain, and her art will be included in the thematic exhibition, “Dear Earth: Art and Hope in a Time of Crisis,” which opens at the Hayward Gallery in London in June.
Speaking to the Art Newspaper, Nkanga said, “Getting to know the gallery, I understood how committed the team are, and I know they will take care of the work and that will also grow with me and listen to me. I think that aspect of listening—not only listening to the artist, but to what the work does and where it’s going—is so important. I think Lisson is the gallery I need for my work.”