Nokukhanya Langa In Dialogue With Bruce Nauman

Nokukhanya Langa In Dialogue With Bruce Nauman
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Nokukhanya Langa In Dialogue With Bruce Nauman
20th June, 2024 – 16th August 2024
Saatchi Yates
14 Bury Street
St. James’s

Saatchi Yates presents a two person exhibition featuring works by radical contemporary artist Nokukhanya Langa alongside leading American conceptual master Bruce Nauman. Opening on Wednesday 19th June, the show draws on the connection between the artists’ use of alternative methodologies, resulting in a shared language that uses absurdist text, puns and finding meaning in the banal.

The exhibition will showcase a new body of work by Langa, centred around her “Black Paintings”. These will be presented alongside a survey of Nauman’s groundbreaking black and white films.

Nokukhanya Langa In Dialogue With Bruce Nauman

Nokukhanya Langa, Wish you were, 2024,
Oil and mixed media on canvas, 120 x 110 cm

Nokukhanya Langa’s Post-Minimalist aesthetic is echoed in the repetitive, task-like exercises of Nauman’s conceptual works. “Intuition is a very important part of my practice and cross-pollination of experiences as a South-African American within my identity has made me appreciate the fluid nature of identity”. These sentiments are echoed through the biomorphic lines and words interwoven as we

see in her painting “Black 2”. Unlearning the rigidity of her training in traditional oil painting, she plays with abstract motifs; lines, dots, scribbles and mark making techniques, paired with phrases, arrows and signs which lead the viewer nowhere. Langa’s sculptural canvases comment on contemporary post-internet culture, highlighting themes of futility, alienation, and online identity.

Nokukhanya Langa In Dialogue With Bruce Nauman
Nokukhanya Langa

Both artists have a shared interest in the relationship between image and language. Whilst living in California, Nauman began working in film as early as 1965. Nauman’s films oen feature simple, repetitive actions that highlight the tension between the artist’s physical endurance and the mundane nature of the tasks. Nauman’s practice, rooted in conceptual and post-minimalist approaches, prioritizes meaning over aesthetics.

Through the use of irony and wordplay, he explores themes and ideas aimed at engaging the viewer and prompting their participation. His work frequently addresses issues surrounding estrangement and reality, inviting contemplation and reflection.

Nokukhanya Langa In Dialogue With Bruce Nauman
Bruce Nauman

Language in Nauman’s art serves as a conduit for communication, but also as a medium for questioning the nature of language itself, its ability to convey truth, and its limitations.

Similarly, Langa employs dark humour in her text to challenge power structures that lie within us, seen in examples, ‘dreams go Thru 2 gates’ and ‘you wait for something you hold your breath’.

Nokukhanya Langa says: “The idea of having freedom and being an artist is spiritually the most amazing dream and my work seeks to honour that”. The absurdity of her text coupled with the spiral symbol creates a dialogue with the ideas explored by Nauman and demonstrates how his creative output has had a profound impact on the younger generation of artists.

Nokukhanya Langa In Dialogue With Bruce Nauman opens on the 20th of June, 2024 until the 16th of August 2024 at Saatchi Yates

©2024 Saatchi Yates