New at SECCA – The Journey of the Blue Cape & Social Sculptures Opens Tuesday

By Staff


blue cape in china, 2005. image courtesy the artist.
blue cape in china, 2005. image courtesy the artist.

On Tuesday, December 16, 2014 the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art opens a solo exhibition of Nicola L, a multi-faceted artist whose corporeal sculptures, assemblages, and performances have circulated internationally since the late 1960s. An opening performance of her iconic Blue Cape will take place in SECCA’s Potter Gallery from 6-8pm on December 16th with live music and a reception to follow.

Nicola L’s far-ranging artistry encompasses performance art, wearable sculpture, design, and painting. In each area of her work, the body is the central subject and the site of transformation and collective participation.

The exhibition Exquisite Corpus focuses on her object-mediated performance art. It connects earlier, Surrealist-inspired body sculptures to later action-oriented social sculptures. In particular, it follows the journey of the Blue Cape, a multi-hooded vibrant cape that embodies twelve people at once. This nomadic ‘living sculpture’ has been performed at global landmarks and institutions including the Great Wall of China and the EU Parliament. The show at SECCA now adds Winston-Salem to its list of cultural sites.

“Nicola L is an artist of the world, and now our city is invited to partake in a performance art experience with an expansive social imagination, ” says Cora Fisher, Curator of Contemporary Art at SECCA.  Nicola L. (born in Morroco) studied art at the Académie Julian in Paris, followed by the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris at the atelier of painter Jean Souverbie. She has exhibited her work internationally since 1969 in Biennials such as the 2014 Liverpool Biennial and the 2002 Havana Biennial; at venues including, Centre Pompidou (Paris), the Nice Museum of Contemporary Art, Gallery Twentieth (Los Angeles), MUKHA (Antwerp); and at art fairs, including FIAC and Frieze London. She has staged impromptu street performances beginning with Red Coat Same Skin For Everyone (1969), originally conceived as a performance to accompany musicians Gilberto Gil and Caetano Veloso at the Isle of Wight music festival. Her work has been the subject of catalogues and received coverage in Art in America, Le Monde, Guernica, The New York Times, and Vogue Magazine.

The exhibition’s title, Exquisite Corpus takes inspiration from the language of European Surrealism that has informed Nicola L’s body-centric art. Specifically, the “exquisite corpse” (Fr., cadavre exquis) is the Surrealist game of collectively authoring poetry or image. Here the titles shifts “corpse” to “corpus” to indicate her body of work made over forty years (her corpus), and to suggest performance art as a domain of co-authorship and group participation, much like the Surrealist game.

Nicola L: Exquisite Corpus is paired with the forthcoming Main Gallery exhibition, collective actions!, a group show inviting the public to co-create sculptures with women artists who are rethinking social action, opening January 22, 2015 through March 22, 2015, with participatory events through March 22nd.

For more information, please go HERE.