Nnena Kalu creates large, complex sculptural installations through layering and binding a wide range of materials including yarn, tape, plastic and videotape. The final shape, style and nature of the piece is informed by the rhythmic process of wrapping and binding, the noise of creating and the physical movements she makes. Nnena approaches 2D work with the same passion and systematic layering, creating dense layers of colour and shifting lines.
Kalu was shortlisted for the Spectrum Prize in April 2018 alongside 7 other artists and her work was exhibited at the Saatchi gallery in London.
Glasgow International Arts Festival
Shortly before the Spectrum Prize, Kalu was invited by Project Ability to create a solo exhibition for Glasgow International Arts Festival 2018. Kalu developed a large scale, site specific sculptural installation in Project Ability’s gallery at 103 Trongate. Festival goers were invited to gain an insight into Kalu’s creative process by viewing her creating the work onsite. The work remained on display until the end of May alongside documentation of the making process.
‘Kalu undoubtedly has an essence of Phyllida Barlow about her but Kalu’s ingenuity makes Barlow look demure and restrained in comparison – her colour palette is riotous and the taped shapes crackle with surprising, boundless energy.’ – Laura Davidson, a-n
Kalu created a site specific piece for Spring Syllabus at J Hammond Projects, London, which ran from 26 April – 27 June 2018. Spring Syllabus featured work by 8 artists, curated by Lisa Slominski of Slominski Projects, exploring the wider totality of contemporary art practices. Nnena worked in situ to create a new piece of work based around the existing structure of the gallery space.
Outside In: Discover
Kalu featured in an exhibition by Outside In alongside 2 other artists – Jasna Nikolic and Rakibul Chowdhury at Cerno Capital. The exhibition ran from 19 September - 23 November 2019.
‘These three artists show the depth and quality of art being produced by Outside In artists currently. Their contrasting styles and approaches show that art is still a powerful tool for self-expression and their integrity and passion shines through their work.’ – Mark Steene, director of Outside In.
TUBE LINES at Tate Exchange
Kalu will feature as one of 4 ActionSpace artists at TUBE LINES on 2 and 3 July 2019 at Tate Exchange, Tate Modern. Kalu will bind and layer materials together, creating multiple boulders attached to a tubing mega structure that will link her installation to that of the other artists’. Kalu will invite visitors to become her creative neighbours and create their own boulders to interact with and add to the installation.
Kalu at Humber Street Gallery
In October 2019 Nnena will create new work for a solo exhibition at the Humber Street Gallery in Hull.