press release

Nottingham Contemporary presents two solo exhibitions this autumn by artists Marguerite Humeau and Otobong Nkanga.

Marguerite Humeau has described herself as an "Indiana Jones in Google times." The London-based French artist's work embarks on epic quests in time and space. FOXP2 is her first major solo show in the UK.

Humeau's new works grew out of conversations with zoologists and other experts. One sound installation takes the form of a "choir" of 108 billion voices, re-enacting the moment when a gene—named FOXP2—mutated, allowing our ancestors to develop language. This leads on to what Humeau calls a "biological showroom" of elephants, engaged in an elaborate mourning ritual, in a constantly shifting diorama of light and sound. Together these installations take us back to the origins of life, while also imagining a future without us.

Otobong Nkanga's tapestries, performances, drawings and installations trace all kinds of different botanical and geological histories. This is the Antwerp-based Nigerian artist's first solo show in this country, and is titled The Encounter That Took a Part of Me.

The exhibition is made up of two site-specific installations. One, a new commission, is a constellation of museum display cases, a vast wall drawing and a two-part tapestry. Next door, Nkanga has also created a new version of her installation Taste of a Stone, which brings the natural world into the gallery to create a landscape of boulders, pebbles, trees and other plants. This environment for contemplation is inhabited by local storytellers, musicians and dancers as well as visitors, who are invited to experience an array of memories and moods.

FOXP2 has been conceived by the Palais de Tokyo, where it opened in June 2016. The exhibition presented at Nottingham Contemporary is a collaboration between Nottingham Contemporary and the Palais de Tokyo. It has been supported by Fluxus, Devoteam and Tai Ping.

Otobong Nkanga's exhibition is co-produced by Nottingham Contemporary and Kunsthal Aarhus.