Nnena Kalu creates large-scale sculptural pieces using a range of everyday materials, from coloured string and cling film, to cardboard and old VHS reels. Nnena begins each work by bundling material into a cocoon, which she then expands by adding layers of different material, altering the shape and density of the original object. Which piece of material she chooses to add is determined by the sound and rhythm of what she is making. When Nnena is making a pattern, she has a clear line, a path and a process, with herself at the performative centre. Nnena was born in 1966, lives in London and is a self-taught artist.
Nnena’s art facilitator at Action Space, Charlotte, documents all her work and explains that “everything is cherished, on that moment.”
For the Spectrum Art Prize Nnena submitted eight pieces, including two recent works and the sculpture she made for the ‘Capharnaum’ exhibition at the Theatre De Liege, Belgium. The works vary in size, composition and shape: some are tightly bound cocoons, others are expansive, loosely constructed shapes. Each time her work is exhibited Nnena adds further layers of material, meaning that her works are continually evolving and developing.
“Nnena works as if unravelling a long line. Everything starts and ends… Nnena’s work tests and expands the potential of site-specific sculpture.” Sacha Craddock, Curator
“Nnena likes to work on large installations, binding and wrapping… She works in a rhythmic motion and often with her eyes closed.” – Mary Simpson, CEO of Spectrum ASD
“Nnena creates ever-evolving, large scale sculptural pieces. Each piece is constantly revisited and reworked, and it changes each time it’s exhibited.” - Charlotte Hollinshead, art facilitator at Action Space
“Nnena Kalu works with a strong idea of completion, the point at which all has been achieved. Her drawing carries levels of repetition, yet she has a keen sense of the possibility of the image as a whole and knows when to stop. The pull between rhythm, repetition, process, and therapy is here in her sculptural work which is assured as image as well as fact.” – Sacha Craddock, Curator